Jun' 19

The Effective Executive

Focus

Though innovation as a practice has a clear definition and understanding, its fitment into the context of organization’s product and strategy is not everyone’s cup of tea. Effective executives who build organizations ensure alignment among diverse groups within an organization. They bring innovation not only as a practice but also as the organization’s strategy, and make sure that all the strategic levers are aligned to innovation as their hub. Apple, Walt Disney, Alibaba, Target and Google are some of the organizations which have consistently been recognized for their innovation-driven success. The leaders break the silos across the various functions, viz., finance, operations, marketing and HR, with the help of innovation as the common alignment factor. They make various functions speak in the common lingo of innovation. Over a period of time, innovation becomes the identity of the organization. It explains their organizational culture.

Despite knowing the indispensability of innovation in the growth of an organization, business houses have been struggling to decode innovation as a strategy. While embracing innovation as the organization’s strategy and culture is one milestone, ensuring its effective functioning in the long term is an extremely challenging goal for the leaders. Putting innovation on an auto-pilot mode, assuming its effective functioning, could prove suicidal and pull the organization down. Polaroid, Nokia, Sun Microsystems, Xerox and Yahoo are examples of organizations that excelled in innovation at one point of time and then nosedived into oblivion. This issue brings forth some important and essential thoughts, opinions and observations on business and innovation, encompassing various perspectives.

The first paper, “Cultural Challenges in Leading an Innovation-Oriented Business: Comparing Entrepreneurs from East and West” by Stephanie Jones, Thomas Geydan and Mazin Alsafi, brings in a cross-cultural comparison and elaborates on the various challenges that the business houses face while implementing innovation. The paper takes the popular Hofstede’s framework as the base and offers an elaborate understanding of the role of culture in fostering innovation successfully in an organization.

The second paper, “Leadership Styles Required to Lead Digital Transformation” by Kurt April and Afzal Dalwai, focuses on the changing landscape of business with the augmentation of digital applications. The paper observes that organizations with predominantly digital products and applications call for a different leadership style as compared to the conventional styles. According to the authors, executives leading digital transformation and technological innovations demonstrated greater situational awareness and cognitive ability to set the strategic direction of the business. These leaders required emotional attentiveness to determine how best to rearrange their plans as the landscape changed, and cultivated the right ethos to create inclusive products and services.

The third paper is “Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change: Leading with Innovation” by Colin Coulson-Thomas. As the title suggests, the author takes his shot from the climate point of view and presents how the increasing levels of carbon dioxide and deteriorating global climate conditions are affecting the world. The author focuses on the threats that the budding generations are facing from the changing climatic conditions and the role of business houses and key personnel like directors and executives in attending to the climate challenge. The author raises a few pressing questions that need the immediate attention of business houses like “Are new leadership styles and approaches required, or do the cultures and structures of organizations need to change?” The paper harps on several sensitive issues in the context like leadership, culture and innovation, governance, regulatory frameworks, etc. The paper focuses on the role of innovation in coming up with solutions to address the intimidating climate challenge.

Finally, our regular feature “Perspective”, carries Dan Coughlin’s, “The Enormous Value of Education in the Business World”, wherein he elaborates on the significance of the conventional education in the context of business.



-KBS Kumar
Consulting Editor

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Cultural Challenges in Leading an Innovation-Oriented Business: Comparing Entrepreneurs from East and West
50
Leadership Styles Required to Lead Digital Transformation
50
Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change: Leading with Innovation
50
The Enormous Value of Education in the Business World
50
       
Contents : (Jun'19)

Cultural Challenges in Leading an Innovation-Oriented Business: Comparing Entrepreneurs from East and West
Stephanie Jones, Thomas Geydan and Mazin Alsafi

Leading a startup business geared towards creating innovatory products and services is always going to be challenging for entrepreneurs. This task is difficult enough in established and developed economies such as the USA and Europe, but how about in emerging markets such as Iraq, with a history of war and sanctions, and Egypt, suffering from post-revolution chaos, uncertainty and devaluation? Setting up an entrepreneurial and highly innovatory business can be made even more difficult by having to cope with cultural differences. Here we look at the entrepreneurial challenges of operating in radically different environments and some of the distinct issues in the process of creating a culture of innovation. What do we know of the national cultural differences of these countries? These national cultural differences inevitably impact on the creation of an organizational culture, having their own implications for the challenges of leading innovation. This paper suggests that understanding national cultural differences can make all the difference between success and failure in leading innovation.


© 2019 Dan Coughlin. All Rights Reserved.

Article Price : Rs.50

Leadership Styles Required to Lead Digital Transformation
Kurt April and Afzal Dalwai

The purpose of this research was to inductively understand the changing leadership styles practiced, and operating transformations needed, at a leading South African Wealth Management (SAWM) organization, with a substantial market share and more than $7 bn of Assets Under Management and Assets Under Advice. The research was conducted using a phenomenological approach, by gathering qualitative data through semi-structured interviews with 22 participants, after which the interviews were transcribed and coded, using open and axial coding. In the main, leadership styles during digital transformation resembled facets of existing leadership theories, while digital leaders demonstrated greater situational awareness and cognitive ability to set the strategic direction of the business. These leaders required emotional attentiveness to determine how best to rearrange their plans as the landscape changed and cultivated the right ethos to create inclusive products and services to ensure the SAWM can remain relevant in an ever-changing market.


© 2019 All Rights Reserved.

Article Price : Rs.50

Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change: Leading with Innovation
Colin Coulson-Thomas

Public and stakeholder concern over the environment and climate change and the global nature of related challenges and opportunities have implications for many directors and boards. They raise a variety of issues that boards should address, including the adequacy of governance arrangements, contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the nature of the leadership required to align business and social priorities, objectives and outcomes and the nature, scale and timing of required responses. In regard to climate resilient smart cities, sustainable energy supply choices, pollution prevention, waste and water management, green growth and market solutions, there is scope for collective as well as corporate action and for creative strategies, innovation and entrepreneurship. Boards need to reassess corporate capabilities to participate in collaborative responses. The exercise of environmental leadership might rebuild reputation, trust and intergenerational rapport, ensure a more sustainable, inclusive, fulfilling and healthier future for mankind, and benefit damaged ecosystems.


© 2019 All Rights Reserved.

Article Price : Rs.50

The Enormous Value of Education in the Business World
Dan Coughlin

There is formal academic education, and there is informal ongoing education. The first one is important. The second one is much more important.


© 2019 All Rights Reserved.

Article Price : Rs.50

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