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Leading the Revolution

Published on: November 23, 2020

Professor Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, defines the initial industrial revolutions as the transport and mechanical revolution of the late 18th century; the mass production revolution of the late 19th century, and the computer revolution of the 1960s whereas the beckoning fourth industrial revolution will be fundamentally different.(Schwab, 2017). Consequently, the World Economic Forum launched an initiative in January 2020 to future-proof workers from technological change and help economies by identifying cognitive readiness competencies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In both advanced and emerging countries, globalization and technology are transforming our economies, workplaces, communities, and families thus creating unrest and instability.

This technological innovation will spark earth-shattering changes throughout the global economy, generating great benefits and but also great challenges, in equal proportions. To succeed in this environment, Schwab argues, “public-private research collaborations should increase, and should be structured towards building knowledge and human capital to the benefit of all”. Leaders are already facing the daunting task of restoring trust, confidence and respect in leadership and business. They are being called upon to guide their organisations through times of instability and uncertainty, to demonstrate vision and lead by example. And this at a time of an increasingly disruptive global economy and cynical workforce. Nevertheless, there has never been a better time to ignite the human potential to address these challenges and shape a new socio-economic system that provides opportunity for all.

Unfortunately, today’s leaders and decision-makers are often trapped in traditional, linear thinking, or absorbed by the multiple crises demanding their attention, to think strategically about the forces of disruption and innovation shaping their organization’s future. Leadership IR 4.0 will be about their ability to impact and influence employees and stakeholders to achieve the vison and objectives of their organization. To restore trust and respect leaders need to exhibit IR.4.0 competencies such as cognitive readiness skills, critical thinking and emotional and social intelligence including empathy and relationship management.

Overall, heightened Cognitive Readiness will allow leaders to maintain a better sense of self-control in stressful situations. These 7 cognitive readiness competencies have been identified as:

  1. Mental Cognition: Recognise and regulate your thoughts and emotions
  2. Attentional Control: Manage and focus your attention
  3. Sense making: Connect the dots and see the bigger picture
  4. Intuition: Check your gut, but do not let it rule your mind
  5. Problem Solving: Use analytical and creative methods to resolve a challenge
  6. Adaptability: Be willing and able to change, with shifting conditions
  7. Communication: Inspire others to action; Create fluid communication pathways

Therefore it is with the greatest pleasure that Oxford Management Centre announces the launch of new courses to prepare leaders for IR.4.0 with the cognitive readiness competencies, critical thinking, and emotional & social intelligence skills to enable them to achieve organisational success and opportunities for all.