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Being before appearance. From the inside to the outside.

That being is preferable to appearances, goes without saying. Since they turn to the inner life (what is yours, why?), in which, by the way, we humans assume a tremendous depth – of course, in contrast to the “superficial outside” – we have our problem with otherness.

Because otherness can only be perceived when it appears, but that is vain. That's why we prefer the mainstream. The democratization of thinking, so to speak. Anyone different and thus successful is punished with envy.

No wonder, then, that we try to maintain the consensus society. There's little room for anything that doesn't float along streamlined lines. That could now become a concern. Because in the future, we won't need streamlined managers but people with rough edges. People who are recognizable as people.

And why?

The reason is simple: We live in turbulent times. It is not functionaries but personalities that are needed in such times. Digitalization will change the entire society from the ground up. Mobility, financing, employee recruitment, business start-ups, money, science, friendships, and love – the digital will permeate everything in the future. At the same time, the processes of change are taking place rapidly because digitization is an exponential technology that massively drives the pace of change. As a result, many entrepreneurs – ostensibly in the SME sector – bury their heads in the sand and prefer to carry on as before.

And as if the challenges of digitization and the accompanying market changes weren't enough, generations Y and Z also behave so differently from the generations before them that we are actually at a crossroads in our society.

These generations rightly no longer accept mediocrity and therefore increasingly focus on the question of why, of meaning. This has nothing to do with the usual generational conflict. The matter goes much deeper because we are in a comprehensive transformation process.

To speak with Darwin: The leap into the digital society is about as big as the leap from Neanderthal man to Homo sapiens. It smacks of revolution, although it is not an overthrow, but a further development of modern society that is fed by many sources.

Digitization and the accompanying decoupling of knowledge and power, as well as education that promotes personality and potential, are just two of them, but essential elements that make leading people today a highly complex and individualized affair. It is as if the genetics of society have completely reconfigured themselves. It is striking that lifestyles, inspired by the digital and its infinite possibilities, are changing rapidly and with them the markets, the customers, the employees, the culture, the organization.

Stakeholders are in upheaval. Managers must respond to this! And on all fronts at the same time. This is an exhausting, challenging process, predominantly for managers who have not grown up with digitization. Because one thing is certain: what was true yesterday is no longer true today. That's why small repair measures are not enough. We need a complete rethink in companies! The leadership elite has never faced such an enormous challenge, which is gaining momentum at its rapid pace. Change management is no longer a state of emergency, but everyday life. That is why we say in all clarity: There is no more business as usual!

Anyone who does not identify as a human being will be mercilessly ejected by the algorithms of the digital mainstream. Brunello Gianella

Personality first

But you can also put the whole thing in positive terms: We live in very exciting times, and exciting times have never been for couch potatoes. We need to get off the couch because digitization is making people's attention a rare commodity – and anyone like everyone else will be lost in the digital flood. Anyone who doesn't identify as a human being is mercilessly fed into the mainstream by the algorithms of the digital.

Anyone who wants to lead people in the future must be visible, stand out from the crowd. We want leaders who are visible when they want to lead people. Visibility is not to be confused with being loud or shouting.

For a long time now, it has not been about “good leadership” but about effective "leadership". Only those who really lead, i.e. are credible in what they do, have followers and through them influence.

But the fatal thing is: followers only follow voluntarily. No one can force them to follow the leader. The leader must convince through his personality.

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