The gambling industry always needs leadership that’s looking ahead, and that’s never truer than in 2020, as we try to find a way forward during the Covid-19 pandemic. At iGaming NEXT ONLINE: Adventure of Change, Dr. Samuel H. Liggero, Professor at the Tufts Gordon Institute, delivered his tips on how to be a leader in a time of ambiguity.
Dr. Liggero began by describing exactly what it is that his institution does. “Our goal at Tufts Gordon Institute is to inspire and create a worldwide community of transformative leaders with heart, and technology driven industries, just like the iGaming industry,” he said. “Transformative means high-impact step changes to your business, or more broadly, to society. Leaders with heart are those who inspire, who persuade, and lead others with deep empathy and compassion for all. And when I say inspire and create, this means one’s leadership is characterized by incisive curiosity, a bias to action and an eagerness to experiment and take measured risks.”
There are three important traits Dr. Liggero expects a leader to have. “They are technical acumen, business acumen, and emotional intelligence,” he said.
The first part can be helped by understanding the technology that we work with, and that will be relevant soon, but a Leader shouldn’t have to do everything. Instead, they should “surround themselves, or have access to, technology subject matter experts.” Dr. Liggero emphasized why this is so important:
“Many of the technologies that drive your industry, such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, chip processing power, game design, user interfaces, cyber security, currency exchange processes, 5G internet speeds to name a few, are changing exponentially and leaders at all levels have to stay a step ahead of the competition to remain competitive.”
To drive home why keeping up with what’s new is so important, Dr. Liggero gave an example of how we could offer his daughter, our very own Rebecca Liggero Fontana, exponentially growing allowances for the simple task of cleaning her room. She might not get rich from the simple task of tidying up once or twice, but over the long run, that allowance gets huge, just as it would for a leader staying on top of the times.
Second comes business acumen, from which Dr. Liggero gave one of his favored decision trees for leaders, which he calls RWW:
“R which stands for real, the leader asks, is the product we’re considering real? And is the market we’re considering real? If the answer is yes, go to the second filter, W, which stands for win. The leader asks, can we win? That is, can we beat our competitors, and do we have the necessary infrastructure for sustained competitive advantage? If the answer is yes, go to the third filter, W, which stands for worth it. The leader asks, is it worth it? That is, will this product or service significantly move our product revenue needle? If the answer is yes, move forward.
The last important element is emotional intelligence. Through a combination of Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills, leaders can help their teams get better, and accomplish more. He suggested reading up on Daniel Goldman if you’re interested in knowing more.
“Covid-19 by any definition has put the world in crisis,” Dr. Liggero admitted. “People are suffering everywhere, left is right, up is down, reliable information can be hard to find. Empathy is scarce, ambiguity surrounds us, and the list goes on. This is the threat part of a crisis that we are all dealing with.”
But as the Chinese have keenly noted with their alphabet, with crisis comes opportunity. “This is the time when leaders among us need to rise to the occasion and bring stability, compassion and empathy to our teams and colleagues. Also this is the time to focus on the other part of crisis, namely opportunity as we look ahead.”
Liggero ended by offering four important guidelines to follow as we move forward. “First, develop clear goals and objectives with your people and assign accountability. This action will minimize ambiguity and keep can be a highly motivated experience,” he said.
Secondly is that important emotional intelligence. “Communicate, motivate, inspire,” he said. “That is, consistently communicate with your team virtually, and in person when it’s safe to do so.”
And don’t get in their way! Don’t micromanage,” he said. “Micromanaging is one of the fastest ways to drive top talent out of an organization.”
Finally, he emphasized investing in your people. “There are many ways for a leader to show you care, especially by investing in those components of emotional intelligence that best meet the needs of your group.”
You can check out Becky Liggero Fontana’s recent interview with her father here, and the full video of his iGaming NEXT ONLINE talk below. We’ve got plenty of other coverage of the conference too, so be sure to see anything you might have missed.