Leadership is evolving with the next generation. The way things were done in the past, from pyramid corporate structures to top-down budgeting have slowly fallen away as new generations come along with their own views on how things should be and where the generation before has gone wrong. This is nothing new – it is a cycle that happens over and over in life as every generation strives to improve on what has come before.
The generations who will come to leadership over the next decade have none of the fear of technology that the retiring leadership of today and yesterday may have had. They have always had unlimited access to information and they believe one hundred percent in the power of technology. They have a need to do more and be more than any generation before them, a job alone is not enough – they believe in leading a balanced life that brings them personal satisfaction and growth.
This will reflect in the way in which they lead as well. They will want to empower their employees, providing them with more responsibility and more accountability in order for them to feel more fulfilled in their duties. They will want their employees to be well trained and have access to whatever information they need in order to make decisions and lead by example. This is their way, it is what they know and they believe in and they will want to share it with the world.
They want things now, not tomorrow and certainly not next week, and they will demand instant access to all the information from their organisation wherever they are. To maintain the work-life balance they strive for, telecommuting and working from home will be common-place and they will still need to be able to get at any and all information they need.
Real-time, user-friendly, easily understandable, accessible from anywhere information will be the only way they operate, as they will want all levels of their business to be able to access, comprehend and input on the information at hand. They will want to be able to collaborate at any time of the day or night from anywhere they happen to be; if they want the opinion of their manager in Singapore they will not want to have to travel to get it.
Luckily, technology seems to be staying just ahead of demand and financial management software today can provide many of these things already. The next generation of software will need to keep evolving in anticipation of the leadership needs of the future, but the forward-thinking business owner will already be investing today in the technologies that will make that progression organic and natural when the time comes. *As published in Accountancy South Africa magazine in March 2014