Updated: Aug 4
As businesses begin to re-open, leaders are challenged with how to set their organization up for success. This is the perfect time to think about your strategy. While “a touch” has become a potential threat of COVID-19 infection, the term “touchless economy” entered our lives. Touchless Economy1 is also referred to as Internet Economy, Web Economy or Digital Economy. The definition involves the economic activities that remain possible without close physical interaction between people. Even though the digital economy term is almost 30 years old, we as a society are just starting to realize the full potential and importance of it today.
One of the big lessons that organizations have learned from the pandemic is how important it is to be ahead on the digital transformation curve. Organizations will now need to turbo charge this digital transformation. This, however, isn’t as easy as it sounds. To be on an effective digitization path, organizations must develop the leader’s skills to adapt to an even more digital future in order to bring organizations to bounce back and rise.
Thus, what strategies that your organization need to be agile in facing post-pandemic future though brain focused approach?
Adapting Leadership Style for the New, Touchless Economy
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic triggered a worldwide revolution in leadership. Now is the time to check your capacity as a leader. Ask yourself, what will successful leadership look like in touchless economy? To survive in post-pandemic future, leaders must be willing to transform. Conventional approaches and capabilities are unlikely to be effective in post-pandemic environment.
The role and style of leadership in the team will have a direct impact on the company’s sustainable growth and development. Research shows2 that leadership style is very influential on improving employee performance by 84.6%. What leadership style is most appropriate in the new normal?
Cultivating positive working environment and maintaining optimum level of productivity in times of touchless interaction are real challenges for every organization. You need a new skill to spark the core energy of your team by conversation (live or virtual) so that their mind and spirit adapt to operate beyond boundaries. Coaching-Style Leadership, then, becomes a brain-booster leadership style that can energize the organization in touchless economy.
Vanaya Neurolab has conducted research3, 4 on the impact of coaching on young managers (aged 30-35 years) from several organizations in Jakarta, using quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG). The pattern of brain activity shows that coaching can stimulate the awakened-awareness condition, the creation of an ‘aha moment’. On the study, Brain-Focused Coaching with Vanaya’s CARE Model is also showing that it triggers the double-drives brain booster, motivation multiplied in a short amount of time.
A recent survey5 showed that more than 80% of executives increasingly relied on data analytics in dealing with major decisions related to the crisis. Organization need to develop Data-Driven Leadership habit among organizational leaders at senior to middle level of managerial positions need to be conducted in a rapid pace. Neuroscientific evidence revealed that building a new habit requires minimum 3-to-5 weeks period of daily repetition, but make such habit sustainable needs 3-to-6 months period of habituation.
Accelerating Digitization: It’s About Talent, Not Technology
As the Economist recently have noted6, one of the most obvious consequences of the current Covid-19 pandemic will be digital transformation in various organization. Digital transformation is less about technology and more about people. You can pretty much buy any technology, but your ability to adapt to an even more digital future depends on developing the next generation of skills, closing the gap between talent supply and demand, and future-proofing your own and others’ potential. Here’s how we can all prepare for that eventuality:
Put people first. Technology is always about doing more with less, yet that combination is effective only if you pair technology with the right human skills.
Focus on soft skills. Just as digital transformation is more about people rather than technology. The key to master technological skills are soft skills instead of hard skills.
Drive change from the top. The idea of bottom-up or grassroots change is intuitive, but in reality, change is much more likely to happen if you drive it from the top down.
In fact, it’s a simple matter of leadership, whether transactional or transformational. Leaders who just want to get stuff done by commanding (i.e. “transactional leaders”) will make harder for individuals and the team. This behavior is controlled and dominated by the task positive network (TPN) in their brain that put forward task achievements, goals, focusing of attention and mechanical logical reasoning. Instead, the transformational leaders who’s likely more suitable to drive the digital culture transformation are dominant in their default mode network (DMN). They are good in social engagement, empathetic to others, and their attention is dispersed. These two networks are basically existed in every leader7. Yet, its dominance is different on each of the leader. In the context of digital culture transformations, the main implication is that you cannot expect big changes or upgrades to your organization unless you start by developing your top leaders in that vein to begin with.
It is also worth to notice, when you are about to enable culture transformation, there will always be the reluctant stakeholders in your organization. Research found that 75% of change initiatives fail because of resistant company culture8. Neuroscientist argues that this happens because organizations are like human brains—resistant to change and inclination to stability.
The human brain is always perceiving strangers as life threatening. When confronted with changes, the radar system in the brain, amygdala, will sense on the signals and evaluate whether it is a danger or not. If the brain decides the change is, in fact, threatening, then it will resist or refrain from the change as much as possible —“fight or flight response system” mode as it’s often called. Thus, when you drive the culture transformation in your organization, you must be able to catch all the possibility of resistance and put forward the impact that it will give for the people and organization. The coaching method that has been developed by Vanaya helps you and the leaders in your organization to transform people and organization to embrace new challenges in change management with brain-focused coaching. Thus, the acceleration of Digital Culture Transformation can be carried out properly and appropriately.
In sum, the post-pandemic future in business is disruption and change, and it comes with a call to action for companies and leaders to adapt and reinvent themselves. In a world of constant change, non-adaptive behavior is the killer problem. Adaptability, agility, and resilience should be in everyone’s job description.
Mawoli MA, Mohammed TH, Sarkin-Daji BD. (2013). Leadership Styles and Job Performance, Lapai Journal of Management Science, 4(1), 2838’
Puspa, L., Ibrahim, N. and Brown, P. T. (2018) ‘Increase in gamma band qEEG activity during executive coaching: Some preliminary observations and possible implications’, in Major Issues and Other Topics Related to Mental Health, Neuroscience, and Cyber-psychology.
Puspa, L., Ibrahim, N., & Brown, P. T. (2019). ‘Wanting’ and ‘Liking’ Brain Mechanisms in Coaching: A qEEG Study using the CARE Coaching Model. Biomolecular and Health Science Journal, 2(2), 89. doi:10.20473/bhsj.v2i2.14900
Emerald JOCM. (2019). Leadership capacity in an era of change: the new-normal leader, Journal of Organizational Change Management, 32(3), 310-319
Boyatzis, R. E., Rochford, K., & Jack, A. I. (2014). Antagonistic neural networks underlying differentiated leadership roles. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00114