Jan 22, 2012

Leadership of the New Tech Generation

In 2001 I had written a paper where I believed that around 2014 we would witness a radical shift in management styles. Up until then most of our powerful managers and influencers would come from the traditional hard-copy background. These managers and leaders did not grow up with a computer, resisted it for as long as they could and still prefer a book or a hard copy against an ebook or a efile. Conversely, the new generation that began around the late 80’s and early 90’s feel the computer is an extension of their soul. The merge and mingle in the digital world more effortlessly that they do in the physical world. They understand the capabilities of the computer and embrace it as a catalyst to the potential. By 2014 a lot of them will come into power positions and become critical decision makers.

How will that change our world?
These new executives will bring a distinctive hybrid style of modern management. They will be less autocratic and more socially networked. They will view technology as a enabler and not a threat. They will understand that computers are as critical as being able to speak and write the English language. Most of them will have some degree of programing knowledge.
This group will be bringing a whole new digital mind-set, something that was either missing with the last generation of management, or that was hesitatingly thrust upon them with subliminal resistance to the change from the way things were done before.
From a technology point of view some of the powerful executives find it more difficult to grasp the importance of business intelligence and the laying of a solid foundation to really make it work, while at the same time when I talk to students in a MBA program they seem to find it sheer common sense.  The legacy leadership resisted technology and BI solutions for as long as they could then when the tsunami got too strong they simply caved in by handing their protocol reigns to their closest advisors. If it was a CFO, which is is mostly in IT projects, and then they went to their auditing partners, who co-incidentally also happened to be Implementation partners. Most of these partners today have their implementing arm far larger than their auditing business in terms of revenue and margins generation capabilities. The only reason for this was that the CFO did not fully understand IT or BI, and more than fully trusted their auditors.  The new generation of executives and power brokers live inside the digital world, they undertand technology and its rules and regulations. Whether they are the CFO or the VP of sales they fully understand IT and BI. This new generation can be re-tooled to understand the Key Decision factors in a brief executive presentation to forever be able to differentiate between perceived ‘Value’ and true BVA, or Business Value Attainment.
On my side I am anxiously waiting for the 2014 executives and have had the fortune of meeting quite a few since almost 2008 onwards. We are stepping into a global change and each of us will need to become participants in optimizing the global digital information factory.

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