Understanding the Keys to Effective Leadership in the Digital World

A talk by Greg Allen, Christine Ashton, David Feavearyear and Leroy White
Exeter Centre for Leadership, Cogventive, Pearsons Group and Exeter Business School

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About this talk

Effective leadership in the digital world focuses on whether digital technologies will replace some leadership activities or enhance them. Discussions have focused on leaders' soft skills. The skills required are communication, relationship building, advocating and negotiating, flexible working (Caprino 2012), teamwork, etc. For example, one crucial ability is emotional intelligence (Goleman, 1996), a person's ability to recognise and understand other peoples' emotions, respond appropriately, and influence others' emotions. Our panel will discuss this and other soft skills. The questions they will be addressing include: In light of the explosion of digital technology in organisations, what soft skills are essential for leadership in the future? Which soft leadership skills are under threat from digital technologies?


• Leroy White (Professor in Management Science, Exeter Business School)


• Greg Allen (Director of the Exeter Leadership Partners)

• David Feavearyear (Vice President Indirect and Technology Procurement, Pearsons Group)

• Christine Ashton (CIO and Advisor, Cogventive)

This is the fourth session in the series: Digital Transformation: A View from Beyond the Horizon

The last 20 years have seen an intense focus in all organizations on the opportunities and challenges of digital technology. This has changed how they operate to automate and accelerate day-to-day activities, providing new insights into what the organizations know about their products and services in production and in use, and revolutionizing the nature of the products and services they deliver to make them more virtual, personalized, and responsive.

For most organizations, digital transformation is a long journey. The first step has been intense focus on immediate concerns to digitize current ways of working, often referred to as “Horizon One thinking”. However, with such rapid technology change and increasing market volatility it is essential to also spend time to consider the coming needs of Horizon Two (in the next 12-18 months) and Horizon Three (over the coming 2-5 years).

This series of talks on “Digital Transformation: A View from Beyond the Horizon” will explore some of the key ideas currently under investigation that will bring opportunities for digital growth, innovation, and impact. The talks are inspired by the work being undertaken in the DIGIT Lab, a UK National Research Centre involving an alliance between academic and industry partners. Each talk will bring together experts from both communities in a fast-paced interactive dialogue addressing key themes for the future of digital transformation.

Day 1: DIGIT Lab: Accelerating Digital Innovation for Growth, Impact and Transformation

Day 2: Lessons in Driving Adoption of Digital Technology

Day 3: New business models of the Digital Economy

Day 4: Understanding the Keys to Effective Leadership in the Digital World

Day 5: Helping Your Workers to Survive and Thrive a Digital Transformation

Each 45 minute talk brings together provocative academic and industry viewpoints on the future of digital transformation and addresses key question on how these ideas will impact your future strategy.