Does your boss do tech?

Yet another discussion on Twitter about the large numbers of organisations, particularly in the public and voluntary sectors, who still resist the adoption of new technologies to make their clients’ lives better, and social media to transform the way they work.

This prompts me to ask this question – does your boss do tech?

In my experience, there are still far too many organisations where there are people on the frontline who want to adopt new methods and technologies, but their organisations, directed from the top, will not respond. And I think I know why this is, at least in some cases.

Most of us these days are immersed in the use of new technologies. We communicate all the time using Twitter and Facebook, or WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Instagram. We use catchup TV services, and seek out “how to” videos on Youtube. But, if you are the Chief Executive of an organisation, you may be in the latter stages of your career, you may have thrived in working environments where there was no hint of technology, you may have had a PA to whom you dictate emails and reports, and who prints off emails and reports for you to read. And you probably work incredibly hard, put in long hours in the office, and then have a commute home. So, when you get home, all you want to do is slump in front of the TV, read a book, or maybe flick through those printed off reports and emails over a glass of wine. You are not playing computer games, you are not Skyping the relatives, you are not catching up with what your friends are up to on Facebook. In short you are insulated from new technologies, both in your working and home environments. And, given that retirement is visibly coming towards you over the horizon, you probably think that new tech is something for the next generation of leaders to deal with.

I am sorry if this stereotype, for stereotype it surely is, offends anyone. I know there are loads of CEOs who embrace new technologies, and who burn with ambition to integrate them in strategies to make their organisation work better. But, there are still too many CEOs who, in my opinion, stand in the way of progress.

So, ask yourself, “does my boss do tech?”. And, if they don’t then consider if you have opportunities to ensure that they do. Don’t always do everything for them; point out the environmental damage being done by all that paper they are carrying around. Then maybe, just maybe, they might even come to like using tech and become an advocate rather than a blocker.

6 thoughts on “Does your boss do tech?

  1. In my opinion it is less a case of resistance, it is far more likely that ignorance is the root cause. We who are digital literate have often made the mistake of referring to web and social media as ‘digital’, when in fact the digital agenda covers just about every aspect of business. I believe the key to achieving significant digital transformation is engagement at executive level. One needs to identify the killer light bulb opportunity to turn at least one executive member’s head, to show them the new religion and how adopting a new path offers business benefits to the organisation, not just the end customer or service user. With organisational transformation at the very heart of digital service delivery, it is essential to make the digital strategy as comprehensive and wide-ranging as possible. The secret is to start with core business objectives rather than technology.

  2. The worst offenders are the politicians. Granted there are a handful who get ‘IT’ but the majority do not. They want everyone to use eGov but they don’t realise millions can’t get a fit for purpose connection, because they don’t access it themselves. Like you say, they just get everything handed to them on dead trees. They don’t know the struggle many folk have just to load a webpage, let alone watch a video. They are handing our money over to an incumbent who wastes it on patching up the copper. Many executives live in rural areas or in the suburbs, and they will have rotten connections so they just won’t bother engaging. If connectivity just worked, they would be more likely to use it, if their family and friends do. Yes the secret is to start with core business objectives, but we’re fighting a losing battle if the connectivity isn’t ubiquitous.

  3. Reblogged this on Surgery Toolkit and Testing and commented:
    Another question for VCSScamp…
    If you had the full attention of your board, your CEO and the senior management team, what is ‘The One Thing’ you would show them that technology enables your organisation to do better, in order to convince them to ‘do tech’?

    • There isn’t ‘one’ thing. There are millions of things. And some suit one business and some another. If there was just one it would be easy. One of my ‘ones’ is cloud working or chucking out all the inkjets and going to laser. Binning microsoft. I could go on for hours but it wouldn’t suit everyone. It all depends if they have decent connectivity too, you could sell them cheap as chips telephony, videoconferencing etc but if they are on a long line it probably won’t work and little hope of it working for another decade. Minefiled there!

      • Of course we know there are millions of things, but often we only get one chance so it’s important we all have that one knockout example up our sleeve that is relevant for the organisation we are part of.
        And as we know fibre connections, reliable hardware and non-proprietary software should be ubiquitous.
        However, for me it would be to show them Twitter and the possible connections to their peers that they were missing out on.

      • Yes indeed. I have found if I want to get an answer I turn to twitter, and any company that doesn’t respond gets sidelined. Customer service is key. Also a facebook presence, (with an active role) is a great incentive to do business with a company. Too many companies make the mistake of broadcasting instead of engaging, they could win a lot more custom if they engaged properly, but they have been badly advised by the SEO ‘gurus’ instead of wading in and doing it how we know it should be done. Its an ideal role for someone moving up the management ladder.

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