April 30, 2020
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Levvel CEO Chris Hart recently spoke at HMG Strategy’s CIO Executive Leadership Summit event. In this video series, Hart talks about effective collaboration, communication, and culture in the c-suite, as well as how technology sharpens the competitive edge.
Chris Hart: “I think it’s got to be collaboration. The education is there just to make sure that everyone has the same foundation, but the reality is, those conversations after that should be based on, “What’s the vision for the company?” What are the goals of the company?
And you don’t want to get too focused on starting from technology and then working backward. You should be saying, “These are the things that we want to be able to do to drive the business forward.” Is it revenue targets? Is it growth in new areas? Is it being able to protect against competitors that might be coming from places that you don’t expect?
If that’s the starting point, then you can figure out how you apply technology but also other things to make sure that the business has the right foundation to be successful and to be protected. And that’s really the role of the entire executive team working together collaboratively and the role that the board has to make sure that the company is doing those things effectively.”
Chris Hart: “Technology alone won’t make you be able to be innovative. Technology doesn’t innovate itself. It all comes from people and having the right organizational structure and culture in place to be able to leverage that technology. So, if you don’t have an environment where the people are able to harness that technology appropriately, it doesn’t matter how much technology you go procure or you bring in-house, you won’t be successful.
Creating the culture that allows people to want to work at your organization and then to stay there once they’re there is really the secret sauce for unlocking the value that you get out of technology and being able to be innovative. And so much of the way the technology used to be used doesn’t apply anymore.
So when organizations are thinking about adopting new technology, you have to also think about how do I need to change my workforce strategy, where I go recruit. What skills do people need to have? Does the way that I used to recruit talent still apply? Do I look at people who have college degrees or do I look at people who have certain skill sets regardless of how they got them?
And then how do you remove the barriers to those people being innovative on their own and using technology appropriately without sacrificing security, or regulation, or compliance? Obviously, those things are still important, but there’s definitely a balance to be struck. And I think so often companies spend too much time focused on the technology and not enough time looking at the cultural aspects.”
Chris Hart: “Yeah, I think it’s the job of everyone on the executive team to make sure that the other members of the executive team and the board are educated on a lot of these technology issues. I think the benefit of having a great board is that they have a lot of wisdom and they’re outside observers who have lots of knowledge that they can bring to the table, but so much about technology changes so rapidly that I think that has to be a two-way communication. So absolutely making sure that the relevant technology issues are being shared across the organization.
I think the other thing that’s really important is making sure that there’s no one who doesn’t have a need to understand technology now. Whether you’re in a finance function or a human resources function or people function or operational function, so much of what all of those roles are responsible for now includes technology.
It has to be part of what you look for in leaders in those organizations, and it has to be part of how you continue to keep those people engaged as not just putting them in a box and saying, “Well, you’re in finance. You don’t have to understand this stuff.” You absolutely do.”
Episode 4 will be posted shortly. Check back soon!
Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Chris has more than 15 years of technology leadership experience with a specialized focus on financial technology solutions in the consumer, commercial and wealth management space. He has led software development, infrastructure, and QA organizations at multiple Fortune 100 companies and also helped grow and launch a number of early-stage technology companies. Chris’s technical expertise, startup experience, and global program management background enables our ability to support a wide range of clients at all stages of transformation.
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