The author of this blog’s organization of employment is a large investment management firm with nearly two trillion in assets and approximately 13,000 employees; the company is also global with operations in Asia, Australia, Canada, Continental Europe, Mexico, South America, and United Kingdom. His firm offers a breadth of financial products and services, including no-load mutual funds, exchange traded funds, individual retirement accounts, brokerage services, corporate retirement plans, 529 college savings plans, annuities, investment advice, endowments, and foundations.
Turning inward, the author’s job focuses on helping corporate clients motivate their employees save for retirement. To accomplish client objectives, he leads 12 unique teams and encounters technology on a regular basis. His personal goal for the course was to nurture his understanding of technology and he thinks he achieved his goal! First, he reflects upon what he learned.
What the author learned?
At the onset of the Technology and Leadership course, the author had many questions about technology. For example, he pondered how does a leader predict the next big thing? Moreover, he tended to take a backseat when it came to understanding technology. However, through the course material and interactions with the professor and his peers, he answered his questions, feels galvanized about technology, and better understands the role that leadership plays in a digital world. In sum, he moved from a casual observer to a learner of technology.
To illustrate his growth, he entered the course without ever reading a blog. Now, he writes his prose through blogging with ease. Friedman (2007) stated the flat world enabled people across the world to communicate, create, collaborate, and grow. Springing from Friedman’s (2007) platform, the author saw both opportunities and challenges of technology. To accentuate the positive, he researched the ability for employees to work remotely and shared best practices with many of his peers. Through interactions with his classmates, he saw a theme of concern on how to address performance for networked workers. Based on the varying opinions, he saw a fellow classmate propose that organizations reward high performers with more working remote days compared to low performers who get less days. As an outcome of the discussions, the author thinks underperformers, at a minimum, should be restricted in the number of days they can work from home.
Friedman (2007) also provided that whatever can be outsourced will be sent to India. The author felt his view was less relevant today and supplants it with whatever can be outsourced could possibly be done by technology. To demonstrate his shift in thinking, the author has a friend who is a school psychologist; his friend spends 80 percent of her day typing reports. Friedman (2007) suggests this function is non-valued added and be outsourced to India. Taking a step further, the author of this blog thinks dictation technology is better. This school psychologist example demonstrates the author’s shift to utilizing technology to ease the administration of a job and thereby free the employee to do more value added tasks. In the case of the school psychologist, she can meet with more students needing help.
The author also learned about new technologies like Prezi and social media from his peer’s research. Based on his classmate’s blog on LinkedIn, he sees the benefit of the website and plans to setup an account. Finally, he developed his knowledge management. To illustrate, Dixon (2009) suggests organizations facing adaptive challenges, which lack a defined solution, bring in outside entities from other disciplines. Taking inspiration from Dixon (2009), the author will push his organization to consult with outside experts when faced with difficult challenges in the future.
At the same time, Friedman (2007) acknowledged the flattening of the world presented trials. Similarly, the author saw challenges with the internet and technology such as internet crime and altruism. In conducting his research, the author was surprised to find the Federal Bureau of Investigation predicts cyber threats will soon rival terrorism as the primary danger facing the United States (Clayton, 2013). Clearly, the United States has a lot of work to do to combat this threat. Friedman (2007) provided the unflat world is comprised of people located in developing countries or rural areas of developed countries. To provide these people a chance, we, as leaders, have an obligation to do what is in our power to continue to level Friedman’s (2007) unflat world! Next, the author discusses leadership in the digital age.
Role of leadership in the digital age
The role of leadership in the digital age is to leverage technology strategically and keep abreast of the latest technology trends. To illustrate, the author’s organization shifted customer channels from the phone center to its website and smartphone application to save money. Furthermore, his organization recently required all investors in the retirement plan business to receive statements online. The result is reduced paper costs for the organization and green because less trees will be cut down. To take advantage of such opportunities, leaders must be lifelong learners and continuously develop knowledge of emerging technologies. By doing so, leaders are in position to analyze the impact of technology trends on their organization. In turn, leaders identify and execute opportunities to capitalize on emerging technologies. In the future, if the author has questions about technology trends, should he let the IT Department handle it? He does not think so!
Clayton, M. (2013). FBI as cyber crime sleuth: Is it any match for computer bad guys? Retrieved from http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Security-Watch/2013/1118/FBI-as-cyber-crime-sleuth-Is-it-any-match-for-computer-bad-guys
Dixon, N. (2009, July 30). Knowledge Management [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.nancydixonblog.com/2009/07/where-knowledge-management-has-been-and- where-it-is-going-part-three.html
Friedman, T. L. (2007). The world is flat (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Picador.