Technology and data have been changing the way we do business for many years, with no indication that the rate of change will slow down in the foreseeable future. The altered business landscape is forcing leaders to adapt or face inevitable issues of falling behind the competition in more ways than one. Fortunately, leaders can use technology and data to drive success in their businesses in 2021.
So much of an organization’s success depends on its leaders; they make the high-level decisions that will cause an organization to either sink or swim. Fortunately, many leaders understand the importance of innovation and change. In a recent survey by McKinsey, 80% of executives stated that they think the business models currently in place are at imminent risk of being disrupted. And even more of them—84%—identified innovation as being essential to their company’s future growth.
When leaders have (or are willing to work toward) the right mindset, there are a lot of ways they can use technology and data to not just keep up with, but also be an agent for, the inevitable change they face. Three ways leaders can use technology and data to drive success in 2021 are:
Develop a culture of innovation
An essential first step in becoming an agile and adaptable business is to develop a culture of innovation at every level of your business. Leadership must be a part of this, because if they aren’t bought into the idea, they aren’t likely to convey to their teams how important innovation is, leaving them uninspired to embrace its vitality.
As your leadership team makes decisions, develops processes, and plans for the future, they should model the attitude and approach they want their employees to take. If your organization’s leadership team is slow to adopt innovative solutions or shuts down creative ideas from employees, it will be challenging to develop this culture in your business.
Modeling a positive attitude toward innovation will also be important as your business implements technology solutions. If your management team isn’t utilizing the solutions available to them or isn’t providing adequate training to their teams, those teams will be slow to adopt to the rapid change they’re facing.
Use data to drive innovation
Data and innovation have become buzzwords and sometimes feel like intangible concepts. In reality, an organization’s data about their processes and outputs is something that is very accessible that companies can act on quickly.
Businesses that thrive are the ones that look at the data available to them and use it to make decisions about the future. Data can help organizations:
- Better understand areas for improvement in their own processes
- Better understand their target market (especially where they are and how to engage them)
- Be better prepared to meet market demand
- Be ready to innovate new products and services, allowing them to be more competitive in high-demand markets
Data also gives insights into your workforce. In what areas are your employees thriving and where are they struggling? Instead of merely pressuring employees to improve their performance, you can use data to identify pain points and implement solutions to improve employee job satisfaction and overall output.
Ultimately, businesses that pay attention to data and use it as they plan for the future are the ones who will continue to be successful even as their markets and customers continue to change.
Using technology to improve business processes
Since the invention of email, technology has been radically changing the way we do business. Email is an excellent metaphor for how technology is introduced and eventually changes the world. At first, it was foreign, and many people failed to see how it would make their jobs easier. But today, it’s a necessary part of doing business.
While every new technology doesn’t become as omnipresent as email, businesses that pay attention to advancing technology and use it where they can are more likely to be successful. Every organization, from nonprofits to clothing companies to financial services and media companies, can benefit from different types of technological advancements.
An essential role of leadership is watching the horizon for what’s coming next. By doing so, you can equip your employees with the tools to not only do their jobs but also to be innovative and create new and better ways of doing things.
Taking the first step toward innovative leadership
To use technology and data to drive success, businesses today need innovative and forward-thinking leaders more than ever. If you are the kind of person who is always looking for a better, more efficient, more effective solution, Concordia University Chicago’s PhD in Organizational Leadership can help you become the innovative leader that you want to be.