Digital leadership readiness: Lessons from Singapore

By Anand Chandrasekar & Elisa Mallis
Center for Creative Leadership

Summary

This white paper, co-written with the American Chamber of Commerce-Singapore (AmCham Singapore) and supported by HRM Asia, Pymetrics, and Thrive HR Exchange, identifies areas of strength and development on nine key digital leadership roles. They are Future Seeker, Business Shaper, Customer Champion, Ecosystem Builder, Organization Transformer, Innovation Accelerator, Talent Maker, Culture Catalyst, and Engagement Energizer. This work was informed by data collected through 179 surveys and 19 interviews. All participants in the study were senior leaders who oversee, have responsibility for and play a role in their organization’s digital transformation efforts.

The findings revealed a low- to mid-level of ability in performing all the roles associated with digital leadership. More specifically:

  • Alignment stands out as a priority that must be addressed to accelerate the ability to lead digital transformation in Singapore. It is key as it develops the right environment for success, prototypes to show leaders new ways, and new habits in real business situations. Such areas include using agile methods to develop innovative solutions, using digital to promote mutually beneficial activities with partners, and developing capabilities to deliver digital changes.
  • The role of Innovation Accelerator scored the lowest, underscoring how leaders continue to be risk-averse, less ready to allow for and learn from failures.
  • The roles of Customer Champion and Engagement Energizer scored the highest, highlighting that leaders place customers at the center of digital transformation and encourage positive employee experience toward digital and digital tools.
  • Bridging the digital talent gap is another area that needs to be addressed. While commitment towards digital is high, more effort is needed in the role of Talent Maker to foster a culture of keeping digital talent and equipping people to develop digital knowledge.

The paper concludes with recommendations in policy areas where Singapore should focus – Education, Talent, and Support.

Citation

Chandrasekar, A., & Mallis, E. (2021). Digital Leadership Readiness: Lessons from Singapore [White paper]. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership.

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