Dr Cathy Molohan of EB Training
Have you ever held a presentation in front of an international audience? Have you done so via a digital medium, such as GoToMeeting or Zoom? If you’ve done both of these, then you understand the difficulties that can arise when cross-cultural interactions go digital. On the one hand, we can now enjoy the convenience of no longer having to leave our offices to conduct seminars. On the other, a lot of the human and interactive element to presentations can get lost when we aren’t sitting in the same room together. What happens to our intercultural interactions in a digital and, by extension, distanced world? What new cross-cultural misunderstandings emerge when people are communicating across digital media and with bots?
At EB Training, we support companies navigating the globalised business world. And these days, this also means supporting companies when they have to deal with the digitalisation that inevitably accompanies all forms of international business. Digital leadership is the buzzword du jour. But to us, it’s more than just a fad, it’s an essential skill that companies will need if they are going to sustainably expand their global reach. How can we help our clients harness the benefits of digitalisation while avoiding communication pitfalls? How can we support them in becoming leaders across varied cultures and varied digital media? These are the questions we’ve been discussing lately amongst ourselves and with our partners. They are important questions for the future.
To this end, we have launched an initiative with three partner organisations, DB Campus 4.0, the Institut für Führungskultur im Digitalen Zeitalter and Ingenium. Go digital now, we call it. The goal of this collaboration? To enable knowledge sharing, to explore best practices and to further learning around the topic of digital leadership. As four organisations grounded in training and consultancy, we are harnessing the go digital now initiative to help our clients, ourselves and our partners explore what happens to processes, leadership and communication in the digital age.
At the end of January, go digital now held a kick-off event in Frankfurt. Thirty participants met at the inspiring venue for learning and networking, Deutsche Bahn’s Campus 4.0, where we found ourselves surrounded by various tools for learning and creativity – Lego bricks, robots (!!!) and 3D printers. Participants came from all around the Frankfurt Rhine/Main region and included security experts and heads of digitalisation at DAX companies. Because this was a launch event, we used the interactive World Café format, a popular method at EB Training for generating knowledge. Questions such as “what value does the topic of leadership carry in your company in terms of your digitalisation activities?” and “what topics spontaneously occur to you when you hear the words ‘digitalisation’ and ‘leadership’?” got all participants thinking and speaking about the key of go digital now.
In addition, I led what turned out to be a lively discussion on digital empathy in virtual communication. Attendees agreed that the rise of digitalisation creates a stronger case than ever before for practising empathy.
The kick-off concluded with an invitation to all participants to become founding members of the go digital now platform. We’ll keep you posted on the series of workshops, online training and networking events we’re planning in the wake of this successful launch! If you’re interested in getting involved, please reach out to us, we’d love to talk to you about our new favourite topic.
By Cathy M.
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