As the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) reshapes how the world lives and works, global executives are using a range of strategies to cope with the pressures of preparing their business and their workforce for this new era, a report recently released by Deloitte found.

Industry 4.0 is defined in the study as the combining of a wide range of technologies—including analytics, artificial intelligence, cognitive technologies, and the Internet of Things—to create digital enterprises that are both interconnected and capable of more informed decision-making.

The report’s findings are based on a survey of 2,042 C-level executives from 19 countries and all major industry sectors conducted in June-August 2018, as well as on interviews with global industry leaders and academics. The survey showed that of the factors the business leaders said they use to evaluate their annual performance, societal impact (34%) was cited as the most important, far ahead of customer satisfaction (18%), financial performance (17%), employee retention/satisfaction (17%), and regulatory adherence (14%). In addition, more than half (53%) of the executives surveyed reported that their societal impact efforts resulted in new revenue streams.

The study also identified four main leadership personas that can serve as models for leaders in dealing with the challenges associated with the Industry 4.0 transformation: the “Social Supers,” the “Data-Driven Decisives,” the “Disruption Drivers,” and the “Talent Champions.”

According to the report, “Social Supers” are leaders who consider societal initiatives fundamental to the profitability of their business, and who are relatively confident in their ability to handle the workforce challenges of Industry 4.0. Compared to the other respondents, “Social Supers” were more likely to report that their workforce composition is prepared for digital transformation (44% vs. 32%), and to indicate that they are willing to train workers (54% vs. 37%).

The report described “Data-Driven Decisives” as leaders who are especially adept at overcoming strategic obstacles, such as organizational silos, that can complicate decision-making processes and hinder innovation by applying a methodical, data-focused approach. The respondents identified as “Data-Driven Decisives” were almost twice as likely as the other leaders surveyed (62% vs. 32%) to say they believe that they are prepared to lead their organizations in capitalizing on the opportunities associated with Industry 4.0.

Meanwhile, “Disruption Drivers” were characterized in the study has having a strong understanding that investment in new innovations is required for growth, and a willingness to invest in technologies designed to disrupt their markets. Compared to the other leaders polled, the respondents labelled “Disruption Drivers” were more likely to say they believe their organization has a clearly defined decision-making process (44% vs. 26%).

Finally, the report described the “Talent Champions” as being especially knowledgeable about the skill sets their company needs, and having a strong belief that their organization currently has the right workforce composition. Compared to the other respondents, the executives identified as “Talent Champions” were more likely to say they embrace their responsibilities to train their employees for the future of work (51% vs. 41%), and that they are willing to invest in technologies to disrupt competitors (42% vs. 32%).

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