Bettina Volkens is Chief Human Resources Officer at Lufthansa, and Kai Anderson is an expert in change management who is much in demand. Together they have written a book which shows routes to human digitisation. In an interview, they explain why emotional intelligence will be more important than ever and that it is essential for the younger generation to maintain their digital lifestyle. André Boße asked the questions.
Ms Volkens, Mr Anderson, what route will we be taking? Will our lives become increasingly digital or will the digital world become more human?
Volkens: Digitisation influences all areas of life. In our private lives and the world of business. The upcoming generations in particular have grown up much more naturally with this trend and have been shaped by it. If we continue to engage with it and we manage to get involved in shaping this trend ourselves, then we will find ourselves on the path of human digitisation, one that is controlled and influenced by us.
Anderson: We cannot halt the digital route we are taking – it is impossible not to be shaped by one’s environment. The question is actually whether and how we choose to influence this path. This starts early on at school and continues throughout our professional life. Education is the key – this is the only way that we can create what we call human digitisation.
Why is digitisation still causing such great uncertainty in companies? What is it that makes this change so special and why do we come across so much concern about it?
Anderson: The term digitisation very quickly sets people’s imaginations running wild: digitisation means automation means rationalisation means a cut in jobs. We experience this equation being reached in many companies, no matter what sector. This reaction is human – for the individual personally but also collectively. It is the expression of a company culture which is not open enough about change. It is also an expression of ignorance: many employees in companies understand too little about the subject, which continues to be the domain of IT.
Is there a silver bullet for defining and establishing this agile culture in companies?
Anderson: Firstly, there’s no silver bullet; every company has to find its own approach. However, a few years ago, many organisations tried to delegate the digital transformation to digital labs or CDO organisations.
Their expectations were not fulfilled. The awareness that the digital transformation needs to come from within and that each employee should be taken on the journey is becoming increasingly apparent. We are therefore once again on the subject of digital skills for all – that is, a digital culture and leadership as well as the design of the new world of work.
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