Tech-Savvy Leaders Rule the World

The past three decades marked the age of information and technology. During this period we saw companies such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Instagram, list can go on, rise to success. Coincidentally, these successful companies had even more successful CEOs who shared the deep understanding of technology and upon which they built their enterprises. Leaders like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs can be considered visionaries responsible why information systems have come to where they are today. Their success was based on strong leadership and exceptional visions paired with tech savvy skills, which now lead both, tech and non-tech driven companies. I believe that this skillset is necessary for any leader; however, tech Savvy CEOs are rare among fortune 500 companies, since most leadership positions are taken by older gentlemen in expensive suits flashing their MBA’s.

In my opinion, tech-savvy founders are able to better picture of what lies ahead for the company. Their understanding of information technology empowers them to better identify possibilities and opportunities as opposed to someone without that experience, because they wouldn’t be able to properly guide and execute company goals. Tech-savvy leaders/CEOs have the upper hand and can quickly analyze and adapt emerging technologies to shape their company’s strategic visions. I believe that this type of leadership helps organization to be more effective and competitive.

It comes as no surprise to me when I hear that young CEOs are outperforming older ones as we are heading into the digital age, where everything can be accessed from your mobile device in your pocket and get connected to anyone, anytime, anywhere in a split second.  Modern industry requires heavy IT skillset and leaders/CEOs that lack the background or cannot keep up with the advancements may set themselves up for a failure when it comes to critical decision making that could affect the future of the company. Without the necessary background, for example, it can become difficult to keep up with the constant changes of technology; leaders must learn to keep up with ever evolving platforms, software applications, and programming languages to excel their competitive environment.

Do you think that strong tech background is needed to be a successful leader/CEO? Are there ways for leaders to compensate for the lack of knowledge in information technology?



Humanism in the Industry

Over the past several years I‘ve held jobs in many different industries. I was a lifeguard, had numerous positions in sales, was in banking sector for a while, etc. I have to admit that although each job was a different experience and I made numerous relationships, I cannot say that I enjoyed all of them. I came to notice a trend that I was motivated to do my best when I felt appreciated and involved by my direct management. I am sure most of you can relate to this and in my experience poor management reflects directly on the performance of an employee, sometimes even resignation.

Managers today are afraid to appear too touchy-feely with their employees or to develop a relationship, but why?  Well, mostly because in our strict, corporate world it’s all about performance results.  I found an interesting article that talks about underlying values of TWI (Training Within Industry). The method was applied and turned out to be very successful in Japanese market; notion of respect for employees was not well understood there at the time. TWI states that in order to be a successful leader you must first establish a good relationships with people you supervise. And to do that, managers have to emphasize the “human element” when it comes to effective leadership.

First, employees need to be well trained to do their job (instruction process). Find out what they already know about the job and how they can contribute. Revealing what they already know can help take away anxiety and relax them. That will establish a sense of trust between the employee and the manager.  In the end, this practice will reinforce the learning process of the employee as well as overall interest for the job. Each individual process of the job is equally important for success; therefore, workers’ understanding of overall significance and details are essential.

With that said, I can also see how some may be skeptical about this approach. The main idea of this concept is that if a worker wasn’t able to learn, the instructor was not able to teach properly. Supervisors may claim that some employees are just too difficult to deal with, which could be true; however, this usually happens when instruction isn’t the issue, it’s the lack of leadership. That happens because most managers today are trained to handle technical parts of the job rather than the human aspect of it.  That’s why TWI sets out to train supervisors to be effective leaders, which creates good job relations along with cooperation of staff and reflects on performance at the end of the day.

“Bad managers tell employees what to do, good managers explain why they need to do it, but great managers involve people in decision making and improvement.” – Mark Graban