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Effective Leadership for the Digital Age with No Fear


Keith Appleton - Expert Author

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With leaders and organisations having experienced the first wave of globalisation, the mobile revolution and the consumer-driven economy, the next economic cycle (2012-2016) will be one where digital technology develops further and the pace of change accelerates. Leadership styles will need to develop - and without fear.

A Global Approach To Leadership Development

The ‘No Fear’ project and subsequent book examines the changing nature of leadership with the goal of finding tools for leading what the author, Pekka Viljakainen calls the Playstation generation - those born after 1985. Global economic growth is dependant upon emerging markets and the values and rapid globalisation of this generation will impact on the management of successful organisations.

Viljakainen is a globally renowned executive, strategist, entrepreneur and former President of Tieto International, one of the worlds leading IT consulting firms operating in 24 countries. Viljakainen is the driving force behind ‘No Fear’ with high profile participants including Arkady Dvorkovich (assistant to the President of Russia) and Bill Fischer (professor at IMD Business School). This work was underpinned at a world economic forum where 3400 executives and politicians participated, including the Presidents of Russia and China and the ‘No Fear’ project has been distributed to 100 countries.

Viljakainen outlined his vision: "For years I’ve dreamt about facing the challenge of putting my thoughts on leading, leadership and creating a new generation of services in writing. I’ve been privileged to be able to face this challenge with a real global team willing to put their time and energy into this project. I’ve also been moved by the show of support from an extensive network of corporate leaders. There seems to be a genuine need to deal with this subject matter”.

The Challenges Facing All Leaders

Fear is the biggest factor preventing the growth of business leaders claims Viljakainen, despite the world being more open to competition and growth than ever before. Leadership is all about learning and developing corporate strategies to address the demands of globalization and the rapid change of technology. This informs six key changing business fundamentals:

  1. Leaders often ignore the value of people development and risk losing their best people and reducing productivity.
  2. Globalisation impacts on competitiveness and leadership styles with its cultural implications. Asian leadership typically adopts the “top-down” approach, in contrast to approaches used in western organisations.
  3. Capital is flowing in different directions with China, India and South America becoming key investors, bringing new demands to bear on western businesses and economies.
  4. Consumer behavior is changing with better education, improved communication and more international outlook. Informed consumers and more demanding consumers.
  5. The network economy is now in full flow with social media and mobile technologies.
  6. To encourage innovation organisations must embrace diversity within management. They cannot lead by hanging onto old process driven methodologies and should be thinking about global market penetration.

Leading Into The Future

In conclusion, Viljakainen argues that leaders must be inspiring, responsible, responsive and open. Traditional leadership approaches must evolve to utilize the younger generation’s methods and tools. This requires a change in attitude and approach - removing the fear of failure - to develop a sucessful working culture.

Source: ‘No Fear’ by Pekka Viljakainen, published by Marshall Cavendish Business.

About the Author

Keith Appleton JP, BA(Hons), N.Dip.M, MInstLM has extensive experience within a managerial and strategic leadership role. This is underpinned by his academic background and membership of the UK Institute of Leadership & Management. Keith can be contacted at and you can follow him on Twitter at!/WritingRightNow More information on the published sources cited within the articles can be found at

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2012-04-24 15:00:28 in Personal Articles

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