28 February 2017
This week I attended the panel discussion on ‘Digital Leadership – What is a good leader?’ This was a joint BCS Service Management Specialist Group (SMSG), ITSMF, and SDI event in London. By digital leadership was meant leadership in the digital age, the digital age being shorthand for that brought about by technology and globalisation leading to an accelerating pace of change, and an increased complexity and scope of what has to be managed. Together these were seen as creating a ‘perfect storm’ and problems for the IT methods. Much of the discussion was around good, even traditional, management practice but eventually there was a consensus that things needed to change. Most notably there was a need for leaders to be more aware of the bigger picture, i.e. a greater business knowledge and commercial understanding as well as technical knowledge; there was a need for greater flexibility when dealing with complexity; and there was a need to challenge and disrupt our own IT organisations where we had previously ‘rewarded silos and fiefdoms’ – even to the point of asking, ‘are we courageous enough to abandon the past?’.
Based on our own research the ITDYNAMICS view is that in a complex world leadership is necessary across multiple dimensions – and it must be coordinated and measured. Our leadership will change as will our management methods. Automation was mentioned in discussion in the context of AI and as being likely to lead to less customer insight. In fact the only management framework that can be automated is having the opposite effect. AI may be a good problem solver but ask what manages AI. The panel discussion was asking how leadership needs to change in order to cope with the challenges of the digital age but also ask how technology is changing leadership.
Copyright © 2017, Dr David Miller, ITDYNAMICS Ltd All rights reserved