How Non-Technical C-Level Executives Can Catch Up with the Latest Technologies

The Impact Of Culture In Attracting Top Talent
May 12, 2019
Executive Search Recruiters Technical Professionals

Executive Search Recruiters Technical Professionals

How Non-Technical C-Level Executives Can Catch Up with the Latest Technologies

The world is constantly changing. To progress, you must learn the latest technologies. There's no way around it. Of course, the depth of the knowledge required differs from person to person, depending on your job.

If you're a non-technical C-level executive, how can you catch up with the latest technologies?

First things first, understand why you need to understand.

Machine learning, AI (artificial intelligence), data analytics, and data science have changed how businesses perform and make profits. If you're unfamiliar with what they are, make it your priority to understand them, at least their definitions and their examples.

In the next few years, it's predicted that all types of business would rely on data analytics and data science to make the best decisions. And machine learning and AI would dominate how the businesses are executed in the future, which may reduce human employees. That's the future of technologies in business. Recognize it early, today.

Second, understand your learning style.

It's important to optimize your learning, so you can retain more knowledge quickly. Do you learn better by reading? Watching videos or using visuals? Writing notes down? While running on the treadmill? Most people learn technologies well when they're using them.

Thus, whatever your primary learning style is, make sure to be hands-on when it comes to learning a new gadget or application.

Third, understand the current landscape of technological advancement.

In your business, recognize the latest technologies that would be a game changer. While the list could be quite long, you'd need to be able to describe what they are and what their functions are in the company.

For instance, if you're in the finance industry, blockchain-based tools would be greatly helpful in eliminating frauds. If you're in the fashion industry, AI robots are now substituting human employees from creating patterns, cutting the fabric, sewing, and ironing the final clothes. Low-paid sweatshop workers might not even be needed anymore in a few more years.

Fourth, understand the most urgent things to learn about a certain technology.

Depending on the industry of your business, you'd need to be able to actually operate several tools that are handy and easy to operate. For instance, if you're in the retail industry, learn how to operate a price scanner and a cashier register.

They may sound trivial, but without some knowledge of how they operate, you wouldn't be able to use them. Be humble enough to find out by start reading the user's manuals, if available. You'd be surprised to know what operating them isn't as easy as it looks. By operating them, you'll have a clearer picture of how the data are collected and sent away to the analytics software for further actions.

Fifth, find the best mentor.

Appoint a mentor so you can ask about the details of the tools you're learning. Sometimes, small things aren't that small after all. There are basic, intermediate, and advanced features in every tool, so most likely you'd be able to figure out the basic ones, but not the advanced ones. A mentor is a good source of information on things that you can't figure out by yourself.

Sixth, stay humble and learn every single day.

Stay humble and hungry to learn new things every single day. If you're humble enough to learn from your employees, they will respect you more. You'll be seen as a leader who can walk the talk. After all, being a leader is being a facilitator, not being someone who bosses around with their nose in the air.

At last, everyone in the company needs to learn about new technologies related to their business and industry. Stay relevant by keeping yourself updated on the latest technologies and how you can implement them in your business. Those who don't join the new technology bandwagon are prone to be left behind.

Jose Ruiz serves as Alder Koten’s Chief Executive Officer providing vision, strategic direction and the roadmap for the firm’s future. He is also involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness helping clients create thriving cultures. An important part of his time is spent on research work focused on organizational effectiveness centered on leadership and culture. Prior to joining Alder Koten, Jose was a Principal with Heidrick & Struggles’ Global Industrial Practice based in Houston, TX and Monterrey, Mexico. His professional experience also includes leadership positions in engineering and operations management for manufacturing organizations in the US and Mexico. This experience includes serving as vice president and general manager at Holley Performance Products. Jose is a bi-weekly contributor at writing about executive leadership and career development. Jose holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and electrical engineering from the Instituto Technologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. He is fluent in English and Spanish.

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