Are CEOs Being Held Captive By Technology?

It is evident that it takes more than new processes and constant re-engineering to sustain a business in today’s competitive and ever-changing environment. Each year we see new processes and technologies emerging promising improved results, but is embracing these new tools really giving businesses a unique competitive advantage? Are these “improved” tools leading to sustainable profitability or are they bringing confusion to organizations?

As a technology CEO for the last 23 years, I’ll make a broad statement – Today’s CEO is being held captive by technology.

Under pressure to improve, increase EBITDA and gain market share, CEOs are unnecessarily modifying, not adjusting, their vision and strategy because of internal technology recommendations and the promises of vendors. Overall, these tools have taken the place of strategy. Executives must recognize the internal activities that enhance their ability to perform and stand out.

A CEO’s success hinges on the team around him/her. Regretfully, when their executive teams buy into the false promises, overall performance and trust can be eroded. If they had a crystal ball, they could see the internal shift and actual cost it takes an organization to fully integrate and get up to capacity with a new process or software. More importantly, when these shifts occur, managers are left to make the adjustments at each level in the organization, and rarely is the integration achievable in each area due to current proven processes. There comes a rise of destructive, competitive battles.

Are all new tools and processes false promises? The answer is no. However, investigation and evaluation of current processes is more important than investigation and evaluation into new. Here is what I mean – Companies will spend more time and money evaluating the new versus current tools and processes. Instead of buying reports and looking at where tools fall within “magic quadrants,” dig deeper, maybe with outside experts, to find the real value in the organization and those areas to tweak.

Today’s executive leaders need to select a unique and valuable position rooted in their essential activities that their competition cannot match. Each company needs to reconnect with the core strategies that lead to their success and not let the “new” blur their vision. Like sailing, it is all about minor adjustments to the finish line. Major adjustments at the helm leads to slower speeds and more corrections. Give your teams the ability to make recommendations and listen. You don’t need to be an Undercover Boss to find the answers.

Mitch Smith
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