Managers’ prospects in the digital age

By the Writing Committee Dirigenti Industria ALDAI   

The ALDAI Federmanager conference about “Industry 4.0 Revolution: taking stock of managerial employment and responsibilities” was held last June 5th, 2017, in Milan, Italy.

On that occasion, we praised the responses provided by Cristina Spagna about managers’ prospects at a time when witnessing radical changes. Spagna is the Managing Director of Kilpatrick Executive Search which stands out in the Italian panorama of internationally qualifying executive search.

What are the fundamental drivers underlying career-making opportunities?

Today’s number-one challenge resides in sustaining businesses or entrepreneurs to tackle the problems they face, go international, handle the digital transformation and the growth required of the market. Accordingly, Managers who are familiar with these types of contexts and are good at replicating successful case histories or at warding off personally suffered failures are very much in demand.

The managerial skills required call for teamwork and sharing. It is thus paramount that today’s managers have the ability to focus on strengthening their resources while handing down their know-how and, first and foremost, designing and implementing actions aimed at boosting the team’s motivation and engagement.

But let us not underestimate the “digital” issue. To date, the digital revolution has had an impact on no matter what type of business, role and title. It is crucial mastering skills enabling a manager to handle this epoch-making change and to lead the organisation on the way to new, unexplored paths. In this connection, “remote management” skills are badly needed when we consider that the team headed by a manager does not necessarily work from the same office or in one country only. Beyond that, cross-cultural issues come into play, not only regarding resources management but also concerning the market mindset.

Once the relationship with the company has come to an end, what is a manager to do to get back on the productive track?

I think that self-esteem is crucial at such a critical stage. It is paramount setting the situation against the right perspective, retaining clarity of mind and understanding that, in most cases, it is not a matter of calling personal skills into question. In fact, it is the market scenario and conditions that have changed. A manager should not turn his nose up when submitted alternative contract agreements and should have a so-called “backup plan” in store. Starting a business of one’s own, signing consultancy contracts, networking with other professionals are some alternative strategies when one does not want to watch the world out there and remain locked out. Training and upskilling is an important goal to be pursued at times of difficulty.

Is moving abroad really necessary to find a job?

It depends on the type of role the manager plays. I am sorry to state that, when it comes to an Operations Director in charge of a manufacturing works, and he has or wants to change job, he will not be able to take the next step in the Italian market. It is very likely that he will have to turn to countries where companies are relocating production. On account of mergers and takeovers, the Italian Headquarters are fewer and fewer, and if one aims to boost their career and play international, global roles, more often than not moving abroad is a given.

Beyond that, boasting an international professional experience allows developing multi-cultural skills today’s Italian companies are in need of and is, therefore, advisable to aspire to higher-ranking roles.

 Cristina Spagna, Managing Director of Kilpatrick Executive Search


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