The tech tsunami: what should you do?

Technology is radically changing many aspects of our lives. With thought and planning, rather than being a casualty of disruption you can take advantage of it.

1. As an Employee

The best advice I can think of is in case of technological “tsunami” coming through your industry or place of work – don’t stand in its way – don’t resist. Think and prepare to deal with it.

  1. Prepare to have more than one career in your lifetime. You should always be researching your own profession in terms of latest developments. Become a member of relevant professional organizations. Keep in touch with peers in your industry. Subscribe to relevant journals.
  2. Think of your career in 10-15 year cycles with 3 – 5 year sub-cycles. You can never predict with 100 percent accuracy what will happen, but you should be able to pick-up the main trends and prepare to take advantage accordingly. For example the first 15 years of your career your focus might be on education and training and more specifically “doing”, second 15 years on “management”, and final 15 years on “leading”. There is no magic formula. Create your own informed journey. And be prepared to adjust.
  3. Use disruptive technology to your own advantage. Look at disruptive technology as an opportunity. Suggest change. Automate some of your tasks. Always think. Make a difference. Improve the situation.
  4. Become software savvy. Take the initiative – take control of your own career. Obtain additional training either through work or at your own cost. Specialise. Become highly skilled and highly valuable to your employer.
  5. Other important but more generic advice:
    • Build positive work relationships with your peers, other staff, and superiors. Work well as a member of a team.
    • Ultimately however there is only one key factor that matters – add value to the business. Sell, deliver and produce results/outcomes. Take on difficult projects and tasks and make sure you succeed. Occasionally you may fail – that is not important – it’s how you recover from failure that matters.
    • Switch off when you go home. Turn off the mobile phone. Refuse to do 1am conference calls. Rest. You will be happier and more productive.
    • Do email only twice a day (morning and afternoon) for a set time. Never handle an email twice. Delete irrelevant emails. Do not cc or bcc lots of people.
    • Final point – do not tolerate unscrupulous toxic employers. Make an attempt to change things. Always be positive. If it is too hard or beyond your authority, then there is always a better job out there.

2. As a Customer

This is simple as well as brief – continue doing as you are doing now – use disruptive technology to your advantage. Be informed. Don’t overpay. Beware of scams. Negotiate. Walk away from bad deals.

3. As a Business/Supplier

There is little choice if facing the disruptive technology “tsunami”. Transform or die/sell. By transformation I mean:

  1. Change your business strategy and business model to take advantage of disruptive technology. Some trends need to permanently be at the forefront in everything you do, namely:
    • The Customer Experience – service delivery/interactions
    • Mobility
    • Cloud/SAAS
  2. Develop new capabilities.
  3. Transform (restructure) your operations to instill a continuous improvement mentality in terms of efficiency and productivity.
  4. Deploy new technologies:
    • Develop a permanent “projects” capability including associated Project Management Office and commercial and legal.
    • Develop and maintain a software capability for specific areas where technology may provide you with a competitive advantage.
    • Move to Cloud/SAAS.
  5. Hire the best people and look after them.

4. Conclusion

Everything in life depends on your outlook regardless of whether you are a business, a customer, or an employee. Disruptive technology represents an opportunity. You can choose to look at it the same way our Prime Minister does – we live in wonderful times full of opportunity and challenge. Or not. It is up to you.

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