I once had a boss who had his secretary print out his emails and leave a hard copy for him to read on his desk. He simply refused to “do” email. He had earned his stripes and didn’t need to lower himself to digital media.
This attitude doesn’t fly today. As Josh Bersin put it in his report, Simply Irresistible: Engaging the 21st Century Workforce, “Technology and skills are now the drivers of economic value; if you’re not keeping your skills up to date, your earning power, career, and future growth will stagnate.”
Today, every single member of the organization—no matter their position on the corporate ladder—must be technologically savvy to succeed and drive the organization forward. Just because it’s the 21st century doesn’t mean you can leave the technology skills to your 21-year-old interns. Digital literacy is the new literacy.
Here’s why (and what you can do about it)
1. Complexity is increasing
Managers who aren’t familiar with IT industry trends and tech advances will struggle to manage their people and projects effectively. And tech is an integral part of every industry, whether it’s IT or shoe retail. Though every manager doesn’t need to be an IT guru, they should have a firm grasp on what’s happening in the technology landscape. Being aware of all relevant platforms and how each project is organized within channels can help managers see problems and opportunities sooner and deal with them more efficiently.
2. The manager's landscape is changing
In most companies, it’s rare to see a nine-to-five management structure anymore. Sales and customer service teams have evolved into 24/7 service models, many of which are internationally spread. That’s a lot of change, people, and time zones to manage virtually, requiring knowledge in a host of collaboration and project management tools. This includes keeping up with new apps, email add-ons, and other workplace hacks to implement for enhanced efficiency.
3. Endless data means endless innovation
You can’t manage what you don’t measure, but what good is all of this data if you don’t know what to do with it? Today’s managers need to not only collect data through technology, but also apply that information to inform business decisions and improve processes. This means measuring everything from your team’s weekly phone time to how many leads are opening email links, and then turning that knowledge into strategy.
4. The structure of business management is evolving
Many companies are taking a look at the way they’re structured and deciding to redefine management. For example, Zappos has adapted a holacracy management structure, which rejects management hierarchy completely. Though that may be a little extreme, companies can empower employees with data and creativity without abandoning a tried-and-true model. And since almost three quarters of business leaders think tech is the biggest factor transforming their competitive landscape, they’ll be looking for management that can keep up.
5. Your credibility depends on it
In an ever-changing landscape, credibility comes from technical ability supplemented by the ability to manage people. It’s not about how many fancy words you use in a meeting, but whether you have a good understanding of your team’s jobs, abilities, and goals.
Managers, no matter the industry, need to stay ahead of the tech game to thrive in a constantly changing workplace and competitive landscape. Advancement and innovation don’t discriminate between young and old, intern and C-suite. Fortunately, managers and employees can train at their own pace to sharpen skills and adapt new ones with tools like Bridge. To avoid extinction, be sure to keep your tech tools sharp and maintain constant communication with your employees to better understand the tools they use.