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CEO as a Leader of Technology Driven Change
|by Prem Kamble|
CEO as a Change LeaderIt is a proven fact that Companies which succeed today are companies that have the agility to change.
Here are two simple questions: First, what is the greatest driver of change today? No prizes for guessing, it is Information Technology.
Second, what is the biggest hindrance to change? No prizes for guessing again - it's people, more significantly, people's attitude.
It is a no-brainer therefore to conclude that agility depends on people and their attitude to change. CEOs, therefore, need to make special efforts to change people's attitude towards IT and IT-Driven Change if they want to create a successful agile organization.
So far your emphasis on training has been very lop-sided - while you know the need for honing the technical skills of the IT people, have you ever thought of building your own skills to handle IT driven change and its impact on people? Have you ever thought that your leadership team (which is the other strong partner in the IT game) too needs to enhance its skills to be able to imbibe and handle the change brought about by IT?
Resistance to Change
If people's fear of IT and their attitude towards IT is the deterrent for agility and change, there is every reason to focus on efforts to overcome this fear of IT, reduce the stress of people by comforting them and addressing the attitude issue.
The CEO is most suited to drive change in an organization and create an agile organization. Driving any change needs authority, and a CEO is the person who wields that authority on each and every person in the organization. Paradoxically, IT department, who are the drivers of change, have no authority over any of those who have to imbibe the change if IT has to be successful.
In such a situation, the IT department looks upon the CEOs to assist in bringing about a change and wielding the authority which can make their lives simpler. But the CEOs have been avoiding it and at best delegating IT to more junior officers because of lack of comfort feeling with IT.
The CEO has a role cut out in this path towards driving change and agility. But the CEOs have been avoiding it because of want of the right skills, and to some extent their own fear of technology. There is good news. There is no need to know technology to be a good CEO. But at the same time there are some other very simple skills to learn, which unfortunately are not taught in any schools nor are being talked about in any forums (see seminar).
Update (July 2014)