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The Manager of the Future

September 9, 2014 by Andreas Schmitz 0

Natural team leaders are adventuresome and collaborative: Managers of the future step down from their pedestal; they are in the thick of it. An analysis by McKinsey and PWC.

Almost two-thirds of CEOs support digital initiatives; a third of top managers assume that they account for at least 15 percent of revenues; one in four managers believes they will be responsible for Big Data, digital innovations, and customer acquisition. Digital initiatives are becoming more important to corporate leaders, according to a recent study by enterprise consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

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Source: McKinsey, 2014

2040: Either a Jeff Bezos type or a Serial CEO

Sensibility and commitment to this issue are in increasing demand among executives, as confirmed by by consultancy PWC in its examination of the CEO in the year 2040. Future executives will have led virtual teams and personally developed something technically complex, such as an app. Inventiveness, collaborative talent, and the ability to lead teams will be three crucial characteristics of the CEOs of tomorrow.

Companies will need either a Jeff Bezos type or a “serial CEO.” The first manager, modeled on the current Amazon CEO, knows his way around the supply chain — and knows how to keep customers happy. He has a bird’s-eye view of his company, suppliers, and customers. He knows how to network them and how they can use his digital business model. The second, the serial CEO, is only with a specific company for a short time, because it is part of the new normal for companies to come and go, be bought and sold — or simply go broke — in the Silicon Valley mold. The development of digital technologies is increasing the frequency of new business ideas.

McKinsey: Today’s managers have to catch up

How far along are the managers of today? Sensitivity to all things digital is increasing, particularly among CEOs and CFOs, according to the McKinsey study. Of 850 managers surveyed worldwide, 61 percent of CEOs and 46 percent of CFOs were proponents of digital initiatives.

These figures are 15 and 14 percent higher than two years ago, respectively.

More than two thirds of managers think digital interaction with customers and digital innovation of products should be strategic priorities — further proof that companies increasingly see their businesses as a digital challenge. The significance of big data — and its analytics potential in particular — has gained ground among managers: Almost one in four (24 percent) are convinced of its importance. Three years ago, this figure was just 12 percent.

Source: McKinsey, 2014

Source: McKinsey, 2014

Companies do not know the value of digital initiatives

At second glance, however, there are still comprehension problems. For example, 93 percent of those surveyed in the McKinsey study did not know the value of digital projects for their organizations, and 96 percent could not name their return on investment. In short, management is largely in the dark about how much value digital initiatives add to their companies. Fewer than 40 percent of the surveyed companies even measure the success of their digital projects.

Organizations are “still stuck in second gear,” according to Wilms Buhse, a Hamburg-based enterprise consultant and author of the book Management by Internet. In particular, Buhse sees the challenge in including employees and managers alike in the transformation processes at the companies.

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