Samsung executives are learning the bitter truth about the saying that goes, “Haste makes waste.” In the haste to take advantage of what they assumed would be a so-so iPhone 7 from rival Apple, the Korean company came out with the Galaxy Note 7 last August–only to find itself in what is likely the worst crisis in its history because the phones are turning out to be faulty. Reports soon started coming out about units displaying spontaneous combustion or catching fire while charging.
The spate of complaints from unhappy customers prompted the company to launch a recall of the 2.5 million units that have been sold in 10 countries, including the United States, from the time of the launch until early this month. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission called the Samsung smartphone a serious fire hazard.
But to a customer who happens to be an only child, the issue is more serious because it would have meant the end of his lineage if the phone went into spontaneous combustion while inside his front pocket. Fortunately, he placed the phone in his back pocket so save for a few minor burns in his backside, he was assured that his capabilities to procreate have not been impaired.
Aside from the damage to its reputation, the Suwon-based company will be set back to the tune of about $2 billion. Customers who were quick to return their Note 7s are not as enthusiastic to get the replacement units though. Besides, the recall process seems to have hit a snag particularly in South Korea, with reports coming out that the new units’ batteries overheat and drain quickly. Samsung claims these cases are isolated and have nothing to do with battery issues—but this explanation is leaving a sour note to disappointed customers.
Are you a digital leader?
A new study by Oxford Economics and sponsored by SAP—a market leader in enterprise application software—shows that only one in five business executives is a “Digital Leader.” Dubbed as the Leaders 2020 Study, the survey included more than 4,000 executives and employees in 21 countries with the aim of identifying the characteristics of organizations that are succeeding in the digital economy. Apparently, there is now an emerging class of new leaders that embraces a digital mindset, resulting in stronger business outcomes.
Among the best reasons why one should be a digital leader includes a stronger financial performance, with 76 percent of executives characterized in the study as digital leaders reporting strong revenue and profit growth, compared with 55 percent of all other executives surveyed. Digital leaders have employees who are more likely to be satisfied (87 percent) at work, compared with 63 percent of all other respondents. Employees are also more likely to stay put with the job even if they have an opportunity to leave.
“It’s clear that a different kind of leadership is required to succeed in the digital economy,” said Mike Ettling, president of SAP SuccessFactors. “People, particularly millennials and the generations behind them, expect more inclusive and social leaders, more diversity at the leadership level, and less hierarchy. Technology plays a role in giving us, as leaders, access to insights needed to make decisions quickly, and to attract and develop the next set of leaders,” Ettling added.
So how do you know if you are a digital leader?
According to the study, 80 percent of those characterized as digital leaders make decisions that are “data driven” and do it in real time. They simplify decision-making and are more likely to be transparent and distribute decision making throughout the organization. Companies led by digital leaders also prioritize diversity and inclusion, likely seen in a higher proportion of female employees compared with other companies. What’s more, they are cognizant of diversity’s positive impact on culture (66 percent versus 37 percent) and equate increased diversity to financial performance (37 percent versus 29 percent).
It’s also interesting to note that digital-savvy bosses listen to younger executives, seen in the number of millennials quickly occupying corporate leadership positions. As the study notes, millennials will soon make up 50 percent of the workforce, so they will have a powerful voice to shift corporate culture. What they say really matters—and they are saying it’s time for change.
“These findings should serve as a wakeup call for business leaders,” said Edward Cone, deputy director of Thought Leadership at Oxford Economics, who oversaw the research program. “Your employees, your younger executives and your financial results are all sending you a clear message about the importance of updating and upgrading leadership skills for the digital age. It’s time to listen and lead—or get out of the way.”
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