How to be a leader in digital age

Now, more than ever, with technology disrupting every facet of the maritime industry, we need a strong leader with the right management style to navigate the risks and uncertainties of the digital age.

Now, more than ever, with technology disrupting every facet of the maritime industry, we need a strong leader with the right management style to navigate the risks and uncertainties of the digital age.  Lee Kok Leong reports
Mark Stuart, managing director, Anagram Group, in his keynote presentation at the Tank Storage Asia 2019 conference, says there are two important criteria to fulfil.
Firstly, a leader must understand that the future of work entails three elements: data, technology and people.  By acknowledging and accepting these elements, the leader  can then leverage on them to bring the company forward.
Big data can be used to predict trends and thus help to make decisions.  Technology can be used to enhance safety, security, productivity and to cut cost.  And of course,  more importantly, not withstanding the fact that innovation will displace certain jobs, people, with the irreplaceable congitive and interpersonal skills, is still the enabler and driving force of the future of work.
Secondly, the right leaders must have the mindset to prepare to stake their career on the change required and should be comfortable to take the company into the unknown.  Moreover, they have to embrace continuous learning to ensure their skills are future-ready and to keep abreast of new technology developments.
They have to build and reward an innovative culture at all levels.  They need to have a formal structure to harness and use big data, if it is not already there.  Making decisions and taking calculated risks based on big data is a game changer.  Finally, they have to be agile because it is the speed of change that is the biggest challenge.
By some account, a company can take anywhere from 18 to 24 months to react to digital trends.  Agile leaders are able to react to market changes and new technological advances faster than competitors.
As a case study, Mark introduces Jessica Tan, the Co-CEO of insurance giant Ping An and chairperson of Ping An Technology.  Under her leadership, seven years ago, Ping An moved all their systems onto the cloud and also invests 10 percent of profit in new technology every year.
Ping An has successfully transited from a traditional insurance company into a technology-driven company using AI, facial recognition software and voiceprint, among others.  Now, Ping An ranks number seven on the Forbes 2000 list.

Kok Leong Lee

Kok Leong Lee

Kok Leong, executive editor, has overall editorial responsibility for the direction and focus of Maritime Fairtrade. He has two decades of working experiences, including holding senior regional roles in business-to-business (B2B) print and online publications. He enjoys his work as a journalist, and regards it as a calling.

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