This indeed is a leadership moment for anyone holding a position of responsibility in any field; for it is in such disruptive moments that true leadership skills are tested, and the men are separated from the boys and the women from the girls. Research has shown that the better prepared a company is the more likely it is to survive a crisis, or even possibly prosper from it. Crisis preparation helps organizations anticipate, identify, and organize strategies and tactics to prevent or modify the impact of events. What is clear though is that leaders in almost every field are facing an enormous test of character. Are there any guidelines that can apply across the board and that would buttress our feeble leadership efforts? Understanding Organizations McShane and Von Glinow defined an Organization as “a group of people who work inter-dependently toward some common purpose.”
In turbulent times, the success of any organization will depend on a clear understanding of its purpose and the careful management of the interdependence of its people. The leader must muscle the efforts of the entire organization towards a common goal. To do this successfully in moments like this, several factors must be considered. According to McShane and Von Glinow, some of these factors that affect organizational success include: The reality of Globalization, the growth of Information Technology, the changing Workforce and Employment relationships, the place of Values and Ethics, and the Management of Knowledge within the organization. The Reality of Globalization Globalization refers to the economic, social, and cultural connectivity with people in other parts of the world.
According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, globalization is a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology. As a business phenomenon, globalization has turned the world into one large marketplace with unlimited connectivity and interdependence. This is not just an economic or commercial phenomenon. It is a social revolution that is bringing individuals, organizations, nations, and cultures closer together. It is not just affecting business enterprises but virtually any kind of organization that seeks to impact human welfare. That is why a small virus outbreak in Wuhan China, quickly shut down the whole world in a matter of days. Only a few years ago, we would perhaps have only heard of this outbreak on international news. Yet, this pandemic has had major social, economic, political ramifications in distant African nations, forcing political leaders there to grapple with creating policies that would support their poor populations in the face of dwindling fortunes.
Globalization has thus brought with it great social and economic pressures upon individuals and organizations that cannot be explained or understood without appreciating the global context. Technological Impact A major contributor to globalization today is the phenomenal growth and development of the computer, the Internet, and other technological devices. These have revolutionized and greatly influenced the way people communicate, process data, do business, and generally relate within and without the organization. In the season of the COVID-19 pandemic, this aspect of globalization took center stage in all aspects of life – government or corporate, private or public, individual or group. As people receded to their homes, the Internet became the playground for every form of human activity. For global leaders, technology has thus become one of the most effective tools in a volatile environment. But it has also increased competitors for many businesses and enterprises. The fact that goods and services can be procured from across the globe, means that your next-door neighbor has ceased to be your only competitor.
The leadership challenge is therefore, not just whether you use technology, but rather how innovatively technology is deployed within your field of leadership. A study by Agnihotri and Troutt (2009) showed that the success of technology utilization resides not simply in whether individuals use technology, but if this usage actually improves effectiveness. This calls for what Thomas Diamante and Manuel London Technology expansive leaders. Technology expansive leaders are devoted to growth and development. They are the technology wizards who are responsible for the innovations that spawn e-enterprises. Their primary challenge and lifeline is in keeping up with new technology. They are continuously on the lookout for advancements and acquiring new technical knowledge and skills. Learning new technology is their fascination and driving passion. They always want to be first to learn and apply the latest technology.
Moreover, they push technology to its limits. Their primary excitement comes from working on technology, and they relish working around the clock in pursuit of a solution or innovation. They are always trying to use the latest technology to improve the company’s products or services.