Indian leaders in the digital domain need to rethink their leadership strategies and embrace a radical mindset shift to enable sustainable change within their originations, according to a study conducted by Korn Ferry, a global business consulting firm.

The report titled “Digital Leadership in Asia Pacific" analysed leadership profiles of more than 9,000 digital leaders from eight APAC countries—India, Australia, China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and South Korea.

The report added that although Indian business leaders are successful in identifying and executing market opportunities, many continue to struggle with the definition of what “digital" means for organizations, particularly as they continue to relish the strong performance in the market they operate.

Korn Ferry’s analysis involved 2,600 Indian leaders with a digital background, and its key finding showed that Indian leaders are motivated by challenge and that they have demonstrated an abundant capacity to engage and inspire their people.

However, their preference for structure currently hinders their ability to engage and inspire people in uncertain or difficult business conditions. This also hinders innovative thinking among team members and employees, the report added.

Decision-making led by curiosity, confidence, and a bit of risk-taking is a better choice for India’s digital leaders, the report suggested. Insisting on structural thinking for a digital business might seem like a “safe approach", but this, in turn, hampers entrepreneurial thinking and the ability to take on business risks.

The study added that due to structural decision making, Indian leaders struggle to adapt to change, and being more comfortable in certain difficult conditions. This greatly limits their capacity to be flexible in the ambiguous digital environment, and the confidence required to make more risky decisions.

According to Korn Ferry’s analysis, great digital leaders don’t only deliver results right, they also create the conditions for future success. This is most important in the India story since the domestic market demand is expected to increase over the years, and the race is on to capture the competitive advantage on offer.

“Digital transformation is about cultural change at an unprecedented scale. It’s not just about recruiting a digital marketing manager or deploying an e-commerce channel and then saying, “I’ve done digital". Change of this magnitude requires a shift in mindset and conviction from top leadership which cascades through to the grassroots of the organisation. Yes, there is risk involved and this can challenge a leader’s conviction, but the world is not going to wait," said Avdesh Mittal, managing director, digital practice, APAC, Korn Ferry.