Exploring Leadership Technology in our digital age with Jaroslav Kaplan
By Jon Stojan Published October 31, 2023
Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.
Depending on their industry, businesses can face different financial, developmental and foundational challenges, but the most important factor in success they strive for is something all have in common: staying relevant.
A business is only as strong as its leader and in a rapidly evolving world driven by technological innovation, the traditional landscape of leadership is undergoing a radical transformation. This transformation is appropriately named “Leadership Tech,” a groundbreaking approach that seamlessly blends classical leadership principles with a contemporary focus on customer engagement in the ever-evolving digital business realm.
Author of the book Business Incognita: How to Expand the Boundaries of Entrepreneurial Thinking, Jaroslav Kaplan serves communities worldwide as an expert in the field of sustainable business development. Below, he outlines the essentials in discovering new sources of sustainable growth, using context-based market research as a basis.
Check out his advice for all businesses who want to continue staying relevant in the fickle nature of market digitization and AI.
From Classic to Innovation
For generations, traditional leadership built on principles of authority, management, and control has been the bedrock of business practices. This model has long portrayed a leader as the guiding figure who sets the direction and tone for the company.
However, in the era of digitalization, this approach has begun to appear increasingly outdated as more and more companies embrace a horizontal approach to leadership rather than vertical (i.e. leaders listen to their peers in a collaborative environment).
Leadership Tech represents an age where leaders prioritize flexibility, adaptability, and a proactive response to change. And the most important part?
Understand the answer to the customer’s question: “What would you do if you were in my shoes?” This expression utilizes a metaphor to convey the idea of perceiving life from another person’s perspective. The reality is that each person responds uniquely to identical circumstances, leading to situations where we might find it challenging to comprehend the actions of others; this phenomenon can occur even among individuals within the same familial unit.
The Application of Seamless Technology
Modern technology is not only transforming the face of business but also reshaping how we engage with consumers, make decisions, and plan strategies. Leadership Tech is well aware of this integration and actively harnesses technology to construct more sustainable and innovative business models.
Indeed, gone are the days when technology was rebuffed. Now, leaders of brands must employ effective computer systems to get their work done whether it be HR systems, social media posting and management systems, integration software, customer tracking systems, you name it.
Put simply, Leadership Tech shifts its focus “outside” the organization, primarily towards customer interactions. In today’s digital age, be sure to strengthen your relationships with customers.
You can do this through customer engagement surveys, working with social media influencers with loyal fans, offering special discounts to loyal customers, or even collaborating with customer ideas. For example, the Lego company offers special contests where fans can design a Lego and the winner gets their idea brought to life by the company and sold as a real set. This sets the tone that Lego cares about its customers, markets their pieces as relatable and relevant and lets fans get excited about the brand.
Working with the Future
Leadership Tech is not merely reactive; it actively seeks to anticipate future trends. Similar to understanding the laws of gravity, which allow us to predict the path of a coffee cup accidentally knocked off a table, this “working with the future” empowers leaders of the new era to remain one step ahead of their competitors and formulate long-term development strategies.
What does this mean for you?
You need to grasp the meanings (or sense) that consumers attribute to their collaboration with you, by purchasing your products and giving you their attention. Furthermore, you need to understand the meanings that consumers will associate with working with you in the next year, in five years, and so on. This is what is referred to as working with the future, or as Jaroslav Kaplan calls it, the vector of development.
Think Like an Entrepreneur
To this end, Jaroslav Kaplan wants all readers to understand that Leadership Tech represents the shift from reactive to proactive leadership, where understanding technology and focusing on optimal customer engagement go hand in hand.
Leadership Tech is not just a new leadership approach; it’s a transformative philosophy that enables leaders to navigate employee and customer dynamics in an empathetic, smart and collaborative way. It’s a departure from traditional leadership, which often relied on authority, control, and fixed processes.
Today, leaders must be visionaries who understand the importance of context, appreciate the power of technology, and prioritize interaction with customers. They are equipped to anticipate and respond to future trends, giving them a strategic advantage in a rapidly evolving landscape.
“As technology continues to shape the future of business, Leadership Tech stands as a beacon of innovation and adaptability, guiding leaders toward success in the digital age,” Jaroslav Kaplan explained. “Being a leader today is not just about knowing your customers; it’s about understanding them. In this distinction lies the great power of future victories for entrepreneurs. Only then can one’s business stay buoyant in the fluctuating markets of today and remain relevant in their industry.”