Digital Disruption - Exploring the implications for leaders and leadership development

Advanced People Strategies (APS) have once again, teamed up with Corporate Research Forum (CRF) to explore the implications of Digital Disruption,  for leaders and leadership development. 

We live in an era of digital disruption, characterised by the rise of digital technology, the emergence of new competitors, reshaping of traditional industry rules and boundaries, an accelerating pace of change and increasing complexity. For organisations, future success and business sustainability rely on the ability to adapt to these changes. To succeed in this new economy, organisations are having to build the capacity for fast innovation underpinned by:  

  • Agility: the ability to anticipate changing market conditions and adjust quickly
  • Rapid decision making and prototyping through collaborative team working.
  • A culture of curiosity, experimentation and learning.
  • A tolerance for risk.
  • Pragmatic vision and the skill to devise corresponding objectives, boundary parameters, key results and metrics that matter.

Leaders need to both develop these capabilities themselves and foster them within their organisation. In short, leadership must evolve in response to the changing context. 

This report explores the implications of the Digital Age specifically for leadership and leadership development. We examine how the role and expectations of leaders are changing in the Digital Age and review the implications of these changes for leadership development practices. 

Summary Report

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As well as sponsoring the event and being involved with the research.  Rob Field, Learning and Development Director at APS hosted a pre-event session.

Digital Disruption – Are you leading or lagging?

The APS pre-event session focused on the impact digital disruption may have on today’s leaders. For the HR professionals attending it was the opportunity to consider how they may need to disrupt their leaders and organisations in order to respond effectively to the accelerated pace of change, we are experiencing and ensure that they remain effective in a tech-savvy environment.

Considering that a well-known vacuum cleaner manufacturer is set to begin building electric cars, the competitive landscapes is changing fast. Are leaders seeing these as threats or opportunities? 

Attendees were challenged to consider how they may need to disrupt their leaders in order to disturb them enough to see things in new ways. The session used some case study examples in order to practically consider how HR can influence change in this way. The values of a leader or leadership team will impact how they clip information to fit what they already know rather than reframe an issue entirely.

The interactive session had participants reviewing data on a leadership team that enabled the discussion and allowed for consideration of how leaders may be approaching problem-solving and how they may need to shift their thinking to become or remain more agile. Participants also shared their own examples. The session had participants consider the current culture and then how it may need to shift in the future.

With Agility being a buzzword, various aspects of HR, such as reward, recruitment and development were linked to it. Although recruitment may seem like the obvious place to start in terms of shifting thinking, APS pointed out that for most organisations, this is only a small part. We may make some changes but may need to build with what we already have. Understanding gaps would allow development to become tailored and specific to driving change and ensuring that the organisation was not left lagging behind. APS shared their experience of working with clients across a variety of sectors and how skill-based development and coaching can bring strong returns.

The session concluded by providing steps to consider taking this forward and how HR can add value when accelerated change is becoming the norm.


If you would like to hear more from Rob please contact us.

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HR can typically see who is and isn’t technically savvy in the organisation and high-quality personality assessments can predict this for new hires. But, how do we change the mindset of current leaders who need to get with it?

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