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Technology can be a competitive edge…

Saturday, July 1, 2017

 

…but only if executives are equipped to unlock its full potential.

New technologies will change every part of our businesses and make it possible to reach new heights – if we figure out how to leverage it in our context. To survive and thrive, top management levels must be knowledgeable about both tech trends and have the necessary corresponding leadership practices that let them use these solutions to their advantage. Research shows that boards and executives do not have this combination of knowledge and experience[123].

Technologies have the potential to be transformative, but companies and organisations still use them sparingly. That will change soon. According to recent research done by Aarhus University and McKinsey, 40% of all Danish and 49% of Global (average) working hours have the potential to be automated via technology – such as automation or machine learning. At one end of the spectrum, machine operators who perform routine tasks face automation potential of up to 73 percent (the higher the percentage, the more susceptible the task is to automation). At the other end, workers such as graduate-level professionals, who spend most of their time interacting in non-routine ways, have an automation potential of 19 percent.
When a rapidly developing technology, like machine learning, converges with other trends (Internet of Things, cloud computing, and physical and software robots), then things start to happen and happen fast – but not all at once. We need to consider the fact that some of our core business areas will be affected incrementally, while other business areas will change exponentially – and at scale. These tech trends are changing everything, but not all areas are changing at the same time nor at the same scale. As an executive, you need to be able to manage this portfolio of different business realities and temporalities in a ‘multispeed’ manner[4]. Many companies try to bring new technologies into their organisation at scale across their different business realities, but fail to fully integrate them into their differentiated workflows and face great inefficiencies and greater cost as a result. To undertake projects like these and create an advantage, a company needs a management team that both understands the trends and how they are changing the industry, and knows how to develop their situated leadership practices and approaches that will allow for successful embedding of these new technologies into their organisations.
The key to future growth lies in the integration and adaption of the right technology and leadership practices in the right context at the right time. If we focus solely on the ‘hard’ tech-side of things or the ‘soft’ leadership-side we end up with new, but poorly utilised toys or strengthened leadership practices detached from day-to-day business activities. A world of customer centric experiences, databased services, and improved asset performance through analytics, requires new forms of collaboration in our organisations – particularly given the speed at which innovation is taking place

 

The NewTech Leadership Practices seminar provides insight into two key components for management in today’s multispeed business environment:

  1. Understanding the key trends and technologies shaping your industry and their practical applications, and
  2. the leadership practices and approaches that will let you effectively use these technologies to your advantage.

Do you and your management team want to proactively explore the possibilities or live with the consequences?

Leaders of tomorrow will have to learn how to leverage both technology drivers and human capital.


  1. Accenture Bridging the technology gap in financial services boardrooms report 2016
  2. Capgemini Consulting – MIT Center for Digital Business Research, The Digital Advantage: How digital leaders
    outperform their peers in every industry, 2012
  3. Digital Business Global Executive Study and Research Project by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte 2015
  4. Please see www.multispeedleadership.com for our research in this field