The Digital Era is not upon us; we are right in the middle of it. For organizational leaders and business professionals this demands for each to maintain their own digital awareness, literacy and engagement. However, there are some that still view digital technology, especially social media, with disdain. For someone in a leadership position, this could cause employees to harbor the same view. This irrational mentality can vastly limit business productivity, and more profoundly, a disinterest in technology will cripple future business potential. Rapid changes in digital technology will have an impact on your industry, and eventually your organization.
Here are 7 ways you can maintain your digital edge:
- Accept the responsibility of understanding technology, trends and implications. As a leader, your key task is preparing the business for the future. The quickly changing face of business demands all leaders to be proactive. Information complacency is a sure-fire way to be left behind.
- Devote time to digital literacy. The information will not likely fall onto your desk any more than your schedule will miraculously be open for research. Both will require conscious effort with a dedicated mission.
- Understand the theory and intentionally look for ways it could be used. A true understanding of technology comes with application. Experiment with tools and technologies and expand your basic understanding. Pay attention to how seemingly unrelated topics are actually related.
- Align technologies with business strategies. Adopting every technological opportunity would be an enormous waste of resources. However, with a complete understanding of the technology and the business objectives, you can be in a position to make tactical choices.
- Identify how to implement, and integrate to operations. When adopting a new technology it will need to be entwined with other resources to be both efficient and effective. Simply layering over existing practices can increase workload and will diminish the importance of the technology.
- Know what resources need to be allocated. Cost is only the beginning; identify the employee resources that will be required. This could require additional staff, departments, or training to be fully integrated and successful over the long-term.
- Have good management practices in place. Maximizing technology benefits requires sound business practices, including customized rules and guidelines. Not unnecessary over-administration, but a healthy balance between freedom and control, order and chaos.
Take a holistic view of new technologies, maintain a high-level understanding of major technology issues and trends, and understand the potential implications to your industry and business. Approach social engagement as a broadly defined tool; open for creative use and diverse applications. Most importantly, the use of digital technology, i.e. social media, can raise your own awareness of your business customers. The information is there; you need only gather it.