Financial services leaders today operate in an environment of dynamic complexity. To wrap up this blog series about their leadership challenges, I’ll look at four predictions from the Accenture Institute for High Performance about how executives will need to adapt to successfully lead the digital enterprise.

Leaders will live in their networks

Leaders of the future will succeed or fail by their ability to create and orchestrate networks. Tapping into networks will give leaders the ability to listen in on global conversations—the daily torrent of e-mails, tweets and posts—well beyond annual site visits. Collaboration software and mobile apps make it possible for these conversations to connect practically everyone in the organization—and to distribute information and authority far more widely than ever before.

Leaders will share their brains

Leader’s thinking will become more accessible to the organization, while leaders will expose their brains to new and diverse impulses. Rather than relying solely on a small personal network—which in the past kept divergent or controversial news from getting in—leaders will recognize that difference is a source of innovation and revenues. They will tap into diverse thinking from the entire extended workforce.

Mind mapping, meanwhile, is becoming a way to make a leader’s ideas accessible to any corner of the organization. Semantic software and unstructured data analytics make it possible to automate the creation of mind maps and, by extension, to create “leader brains” that employees and others can access and explore.

When they can digitally share their brains, leaders can achieve a more robust digital presence than would be possible even by the most ambitious internal media campaign or whistle-stop tour of the company.

Leaders will include a machine on their leadership team

Artificial intelligence offers the ability to gather massive amounts of information and search for answers to complex questions. By exploring the consequences of a decision, intelligence machines can enable leaders to anticipate problems early on and fine-tune strategic decisions. As such, intelligent machines promote discussions on “what it is business leaders want to do.” For example, computer models could be used to simulate the impact of large events, like the potential acquisition of a rival.

Leaders will practice a new form of intelligence

Future leaders will be judged by how well they integrate people with diverse talents, roles, demographics, values, mind-sets and motivations—as well as how well they unite humans with machines.

A new digital era characterized by increasingly fragmented talent will radically reshape employment contracts, what it means to be an employee, with whom one collaborates and for how long. More and more workers will want a reason to belong. Against this backdrop, leaders will be called upon to practice a new form of intelligence—the ability to draw individuals together by means of shared purpose.

Living with volatility

Change is going to be relentless for financial services leaders in the next few years. This evolution will require looking at leadership in an entirely different way—and it is not too early to start learning how.

To find out more, read Leading the digital enterprise

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