Technology and economy never stand still – their continuous development and evolution are what ensures the changes occurring in human societies throughout history. Throughout the last quarter of the millennium, humanity’s socio-economic development was mainly dominated by the four periods of technological advancement with profound and far-reaching economic and social impacts. These periods are usually referred to as the Industrial Revolutions, each of which is linked to some key technology, whether a steam engine, electricity and telephone, or microchips. The Fourth Industrial Revolution that relies on artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, and robotization is already occurring – and, as those that came before, brings new opportunities and challenges for leaders and organizations. My organization has received a high score of 106 in the assessment of future-readiness presented in Groscurth’s Future-Ready leadership, which designates it as reasonably prepared. However, if one aims to maintain these advantages on the leadership, team, and organizational level, one has to pay consistent attention to the demands of the new age, such as continuous training and fundamental humanity.
The high score I received in the assessment suggests that I am reasonably ready for the challenges and pitfalls of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a leader. It is likely due to the fact that I share some of the convictions and approaches that Groscurth considers essential for effective leadership. I distinguish well between the efficiency of an individual contributor on a given position and the effectiveness of a team leader. The author notes that promoting the best individuals contributors to the leadership positions as a reward is illogical, as performing a task and maximizing the efficiency of others performing it are different things (Groscurth 91). Additionally, Groscurth points out that the highly competitive corporate culture makes the team leaders of the most competitive people, who “may not be that interested in helping other people learn and grow” (Groscurth 91). I share both premises and, whenever leading a group, strive to improve the efficiency of its every member and the group as a whole rather than cast myself in a better light.
The score also implies that the teams of my organization are approximately as ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution as the individual leaders. As in the case below, this result likely stems from the fact that the teams I had an opportunity to work with were operating by the principles described by Groscurth. The crucial component of a capable team is the ability to balance “situational demands,” such as costs, customer feedback, and competition) and the organization’s strategic vision codified in values and mission (Groscurth 165). This readiness to pursue short-term objectives while always keeping the long-term goal in mind is probably another reason for the high score for future readiness in Groscurth’s assessment.
As for the organizational level, the score of 106 suggests that it is prepared well for the challenges and potential pitfalls of the new period of economic history. One possible explanation of this readiness is the organization’s readiness to follow its mission and values stringently. It was already mentioned above that mission and value statements are crucial in guiding the teams, but they are even more critical for the organization as a whole. Groscurth is right to note that core values affect “how the organization moves into the future” (148). It is impossible to demonstrate sustained growth and adaptation without a clear vision, mission, and values, and their presence in the organizational context helps in being prepared for the future.
However, a high score in an assessment is not a reason to rest on one’s laurels – instead, it is a reminder to maintain and improve efficiency. One way to prepare the organization for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is to ensure continuous training of the personnel. New conditions will require the employees to be more adaptive and ready to develop new competencies in a swiftly changing economic landscape, and a sensible organization would ensure their continuous developments and retraining (Groscurth 8). Another sensible thing to do while preparing for the future is keeping in mind the fundamental humanity of any economic process. For all the advances in machinery and computerization, “deep levels of human intelligence” will still be the defining factor in the leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Groscurth 2). Remembering this premise and operating based on it is one more step to develop an effective leadership model ready to cope with the challenges of the future and seize on its opportunities.
To summarize, the high score in Groscurth’s future-readiness assessment suggests a sufficient level of preparation for the future on the leadership, team, and organizational levels. The distinction between individual collaboration and mindful guidance is crucial for effective leadership, a combination of short-term and long-term objectives provides for good teams, and clearly defined mission, vision, and values are essential for organizational readiness. That being said, it would be wise to prepare for the continuous redevelopment and retraining of human resources to capitalize on the fundamental humanity of any economic activity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Groscurth, Chris R. Future-Ready Leadership: Strategies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Praeger, 2018.