A year ago, Deloitte’s inaugural survey assessing private and public sector readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution observed a “tension between hope and ambiguity.” We found while executives conceptually understood the profound business and societal changes Industry 4.0 may bring, they were less certain how they could take action to benefit. The Fourth Industrial Revolution enables an increasingly globalized world, one in which advanced technologies can drive new opportunities, diverse ideas can be heard, and new forms of communication may come to the fore (for a detailed definition of Industry 4.0, see What is Industry 4.0?). But how are leaders adjusting? Our new survey suggests many who think they are ready may still not be as prepared as they need to be. But the good news is leaders seem to be gaining a much deeper understanding of Industry 4.0, are increasingly aware of the challenges before them, and are viewing the actions needed to succeed more realistically.
Our latest survey polled more than 2,000 C-suite executives across 19 countries, coupled with select interviews. The goal was to uncover how leaders are taking effective action, where they are making the most progress, and what sets the most effective leaders apart. Among our findings:
The general ambiguity expressed in last year’s survey has subsided into a clearer, more tempered perspective in which leaders better recognize the many dimensions—and ensuing challenges—the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings. These include societal and ethical implications, the importance of clear vision and collaborative organizations, the tradeoffs of investing in technology for the short term rather than the long term, and addressing the talent gap. Yet, among these myriad issues, we see a subset of leaders forging a path forward. They include:
Encouragingly, this research shows that these personas are contagious. While leaders may start on any one of these paths, they often embody a number of characteristics that might offer lessons for those still trying to define their approaches. These leaders share a commitment to doing good, with a clear vision of the path forward. They take a long-term view of technology investments and are leading with regard to workforce development. Finally, their organizations are growing faster (that is, more than 5 percent annually) than their counterparts’, and they’re more confident in their ability to lead their companies in the Industry 4.0 world.
While leaders with these characteristics stand apart, over the past year leaders generally seem to better recognize the many dimensions—and ensuing challenges—of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Our hope is this clarity will now give rise to progress.
This is an exclusive preview of Deloitte Global’s second annual survey assessing business and government readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The full results will be released at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019, held January 22 to 25 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Read the full report, Success personified in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Four leadership personas for an era of change and uncertainty, here.
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