Talent Strategies for Industrial Digital Transformation


IndustryWeek | October 4, 2016

IndustryWeek published a bylined article written by Russell Reynolds Associates' Jens-Thomas Pietralla and David Finke titled, "Talent Strategies for Industrial Digital Transformation." The piece looks at the firm’s research on “The hunt for digital leaders” and provides key recommendations for creating digital success.

We are in the middle of a fundamental transformation in today’s industrial world. The industrial Internet is bringing both evolutionary and revolutionary changes, and whilst industrial companies are at various stages of this transformation, they all need to rethink their related talent strategies.

Transforming an organization from a machinery-led to a software-and-services-led company is not easy. In our conversations with top executives from industrial manufacturing companies around the world, many said they need to conquer the following five challenges: (1) reimagining current business models in the face of disruption, (2) confronting new competitors, (3) upgrading the organizational culture to  cultivate innovation, (4) investigating new forms of leadership that young talent responds to better, and finally, (5) bringing software and services up to required levels of speed and agility.

A successful digital transformation leader is a distinct type of individual with a particular set of skills and qualities. These leaders must be “productive disruptors” who go against the grain and can imagine and shape the future industrial landscape defined by software and services. Moreover, they must be highly socially adept and be able to take the wider organization with them on this journey.

Russell Reynolds Associates examined how 178 industrial executives stacked up against the psychometric profile of a productive disruptor (see “Psychometric profile of a productive disruptor vs. an industrial executive”) and found that industrial leaders are, on average, less likely to approach the business in unconventional ways and are less open to taking risks and driving change. However, some industrial executives do exhibit some of these traits. It is in the organization’s best interest to identify these individuals and assign them to roles in the digital transformation. But most industrial companies will need to look outside their own sector to identify pivotal productive disruptors who will help lead them into the next era.

To read the full article, click here.

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Talent Strategies for Industrial Digital Transformation