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CEO's & Technology: Learning to Adapt

It is widely agreed upon that technological change is the most disruptive force facing today's corporations. In almost every field and industry, there are apparent changes thanks to technology. For example, in the automotive industry, technology gave way to the development of aluminum doors, hoods and fenders; aluminum is half the weight of steel, but has the same crash impact, making it a more efficient and cost-effective resource.

Examples of technological change are easy to find: Elon Musk is working on an idea to replace roofs with solar power; Holland is currently researching and developing the concept of roads with solar panels and empty parking lots that could be used as generators of electricity.

However, technology doesn't stop there. It transforms all things, from how we eat, how we watch TV, how we create, where we interact, and how we do our jobs. Having a CEO title makes no difference. The role of the leader shifts along with the new ways of the world. What once required a vast knowledge of the current developments in a particular field has now shifted into a need for a leader who can see what's most relevant and prioritize the benefit of the entire team. There's a plethora of blogs, magazines, consultants, research reports, and more to turn to for valuable intelligence; it is not as hard as it once was to find valuable sources. Today's world has so much to offer that a leader must be able to recognize what is worthwhile and what is not.

CEO's may also want to consider the composition of their board and top team to reflect modern times and styles better. While experience will always be an essential factor in assembling a strong team and board, it is also necessary to acknowledge the swift changes that have occurred over the last couple of decades. As each field becomes more technologically developed and advanced, their boards should come equipped with technologically-savvy members. Some CEOs are taking it a step further, creating technology advisory boards made up of executives with recent tech leadership roles that help evaluate the organization's technology decisions.

While the changes of tech and the possible impacts are fairly evident, the benefits of adapting to technology may be less clear. Here are three long-term benefits for swiftly adapting to technological changes:

Competitive Advantage - This benefit is very straightforward. Using new technology not only gives a competitive advantage to the business as a whole, but also provides a personal competitive advantage to each person who uses it.

Avoid Possible Extinction - We've all heard the phrase, "If you don't get with the new, you get stuck with the old." Kodak, Nokia, and Blockbuster are all examples of falling with the times.

Prevent Financial Loss - Even if extinction is avoided without adapting, there can be a significant loss in revenue for failure to adapt. By changing with the times and recognizing the needs of the company, companies can prevent financial loss in terms of employee and consumer retention, and by adopting more efficient means of completing the work.

Technology and its impact is unpredictable. While we can't control what changes come our way or what technology we will have to adapt to, we can control how we tackle those changes and how we implement adjustments into our businesses and daily lives.

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