Leadership Responsibility in Technology

Here is one of the things that has become astonishingly clear over the past seven weeks—the leader of the future must embrace a responsibility to become increasingly more engaged in technology.  The challenge is how much the leader of the future needs to know about technology to be an effective leader.  The internet and social media platforms and tools are fundamental to leadership in technology.  The influence of the internet and social media on our personal and professional lives are undeniable (Weinberger, 2011).  Before taking this course, as a latter-end baby boomer, there were just certain areas of knowledge regarding technology and social media that I was content in not knowing.  From the beginning of the information technology era through knowledge management, experience management, and idea management, having a staff member with the knowledge and skills to keep pace with technological advancements was enough (Dixon, 2009).  Being a late adopter in pursuing knowledge in information technology tools and platforms has me in the mode of playing catch up as I begin a new career where most of my colleagues are ten to fifteen years younger and have a higher degree of explicit and tacit knowledge and skill in information technology.

Technology Reality Check

The truth of the matter is, there is no catching up.  Because technological advances are occurring daily in practically every field, there is literally too much for any one leader to know (Weinberger, 2011).  As such, leadership behaviors that foster participation and inclusion, harnessing the collective knowledge of human capital positions an organization to remain relevant and competitive in the marketplace.  In other words, building cognitive diversity and enhancing the wisdom of the crowd systematically converts knowledge and ides on a personal and organizational scale to valuable intellectual capital (Dixon, 2009).

Talent Optimization

Traditional hierarchies that operate from principles of command and control, the chain of command, and unity of command are a threat to increasing organizational adaptability and diffusion of technology.  In many government, tenured organizations, and institutions, much of its talent in information technology exists in lower ranking positions in the organizational structure. The percentage of personnel competent in the internet, technological tools, and social media platforms generally diminish the closer you get to the top of the pyramid.  The emerging principles of wirearchy (Husband, 0000) and leaders as social artists (Martin, 2015) offer non-traditional solutions to organizational management which maximizes idea management and diffusion of technology.  Wirearchy is based on the four elements of transformational leadership: knowledge, trust, credibility, and results.  Socials artists embody characteristics whereas leaders and followers inspire one another through participation, empowerment, inspiration, activism, vision, and collaboration.  Collectively, these leadership attributes prevent the chain of command from stifling creativity and innovation of an institution’s human capital.

Global and National Leadership Challenges

One of the global challenges of leadership in technology will be leveling the playing field or increasing the global “spikes” in parts of the world where access to technology in from minimal to non-existent.  Additionally, in parts of the world where technology is highly accessible, some communities are deprived of technology education and tools due to socio-economics.  National and community leaders who take these issues on as quality of life initiatives will position themselves and the communities to be greater contributors to their communities.  Public education in low income communities in America do not have the resources and capabilities to establish a level playing field in education and training in information technology. If this trend continues, it will not only have in impact on those adversely impacted by the disparity, but will also impact the future workforce and competitiveness of America globally.  Technology deprived Americans will have lower paying jobs or be unemployable.  Advancements in science, intelligence, and military innovations may also be hampered.

Continuing Training and Education

Increasing in knowledge, skills, and abilities in technology is essential to my personal and professional growth in leadership.  Through ILD 831 I have gained knowledge that I did not have.  I know the fundamentals of creating and managing a blog.  I have knowledge of the top 100 technology tools and a basic understanding of the functions and features of ten that I may not have ever researched on my own.  However, there is still so much more to learn in order to take advantage of all technology has to offer in my former career in the fire service and in my new career in church administration.  The future is both exciting and scary when we consider to possibilities as presented in the two Corning videos.  Sharing increases our capacity to benefit from the blessings of technology, but also increases our vulnerability to cyber criminals and reduces our privacy.  How much to we need to learn and how far do we go in sharing.   Who knows? It’s too big to know.

References:

Corning’s A Day Made of Glass, Part 1. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qmwdbhsbVs.

Corning’s A Day Made of Glass, Part 2. Retrieved from http://youtu.be?SJZv8sllZpc.

Kelly, Kevin (July, 2011). Six Major Trends in Technology. NExTWORK. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/zXPfSrmzLoO.

Dixon, N. (2009). Conversation Matters: Where Knowledge Management has been and Where It’s Going-Part Two. Retrieved from http://www.nancydixonblog.com/2009/05/knowledge-management-where-weve-been-and-where-were-going—part-two.html

Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge not that the facts aren’t the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Wirearchy, Husband, J. (2016). What is wirearchy? Retrieved from http://wirearchy.com/what-is-wirearchy/.

 

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9 comments

  1. Britt Watwood · April 22, 2016

    Kelvin, nice post! It is only too big for each of us…but not for all of us. As you noted, the future of leadership lies in building teams that are agile and adaptable.

    I have enjoyed how over the past two months you synthesized weekly lessons into the real leadership domain of firefighting. Best of luck in both your academic and new church leadership roles.

    Like

  2. raven765 · April 22, 2016

    My own experience is similar to yours. You note that you were a “late adopter in pursuing knowledge in information technology tools and platforms has me in the mode of playing catch up” – I might argue that you do not need to catch up – you just need to step into the flow of technology. The rapidity of changing tools and devices means that many are outdated before you even know they existed! A consoling comment I heard a few years ago (I cannot recall where) was that adults do not need to worry about catching up on technology that is out there, that is a no win exercise. Rather, it is more important to just start where you are and go forward. That was liberating to me.

    Last weekend my daughter and I decided it was time to upgrade our phones and set out to do it. I was conscious of every step of this process and thinking about my own interactions with and dependence on technology. I wrote down all of my email passwords, set up details, downloaded apps, emailed my notes to myself, and saved my pictures thinking none of this would transfer over. So I was prepared. My experience, however was pretty amazing. Even in the past few years, the ease of transferring all of the information and applications on apps was exponentially better than the last time. Every single item transferred over – I only needed to add my passwords to specific items to have them download. It boggles my mind how this happens – all I know is that it does. At my stage this is amazing – for someone else it is a basic requirement.

    Finally, I really enjoy being around young people and observing their interactions and work. I think I get a glimpse into the future in some ways – how will these young people impact organizations and methods of work? I try not to be intimidated by their ease of use of technology but rather have them show me things. I, on the other hand, have lessons to teach to them. That seems a good trade off!

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    • Britt Watwood · April 23, 2016

      You noted “…I might argue that you do not need to catch up – you just need to step into the flow of technology.” A good friend likened this flow to fly fishing. Your intent is not to catch every fish, just one worth keeping. I think of technology in much the same way.

      Like

      • cochrancreighton · April 23, 2016

        Dr. Watwood:
        Between Raven’s comment for starting where you are and your analogy of fly fishing. I am now totally liberated from the burden of trying to catch up. First of all, it is cannot be achieved. Secondly, I would only fall further behind because new tools, apps, and platforms are being introduced almost daily. Thank you for demonstrating excellence in coaching and online teaching over the past eight weeks.
        Kelvin

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      • Britt Watwood · April 23, 2016

        It has been a pleasure … and fun to reconnect with the Atlanta Fire Department is some small way!

        Like

    • cochrancreighton · April 23, 2016

      Raven:
      You have helped me tremendously with sharing your experience. It’s helpful to know that I am not the only one who feels that I started paying attention too late. It makes perfect sense to just get engaged at the point that I am now that I have had a technological awakening. Rather than trying to learn tools and apps that have been out for a minute, I should be adopting and diffusing those that have just arrived on the scene. Starting where you are releases us from the burden of having to catch up. You make a great point about the benefits of hanging around young people. They can teach us so much about trends in tools, platforms, and apps. Some are also patient enough to show us how to use them.

      Like

  3. Cam Stockdale · April 22, 2016

    I have certainly enjoyed reading your blogs over the last few weeks. They have often made me consider how I dealt with the intersection of technology and emergency services in the past. From my point of view the unique nature of emergency services makes then predisposed to appreciate the good and bad of technology, especially the impact of social media. In a sense this issues takes us back to the ability to filter communication to avoid making decisions based up misinformation. The reason why I suggest this is important is that governments, municipal or otherwise are having decisions impacted by public opinion voiced over social media. As high profile public entities that are often open to criticisms (some right and some unjust) one of the thoughts this course has made me consider was the opportunity that social media presents to alter public opinion and as such those who manage public purse strings. Using social media to promote an emergency services has been done before, but not within my former organization because of the rules and regulations surrounding privacy, however with those expectations shifting maybe its time to revisit it.

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  4. cochrancreighton · April 23, 2016

    Cam:
    I appreciate your comments. Your feedback has been beneficial over the past eight weeks. Public safety agencies are still trying to figure out what to do with social media. At this point, it is best described as a wildland fire. Social media covers a vast territory, it spreads rapidly under heavy wind conditions (controversy), is difficult to control, and sometimes requires fighting fire (controversy) with fire (corrective action). Fire departments are now using social media for public education and recruitment. Two very good and positive benefits. However, many social media posts are of real incidents that violate HPPA laws, departmental policies, and citizen right to privacy. Some firefighters where personal helmet cameras or use cell phones to record fires, EMS incidents, and special operations capturing video of safety and policy violations. Subsequently, these videos find there way on a social media platforms creating liability exposure for cities and counties. Fire service leaders have to continue to work to find the balance between the good and the no so good in diffusing social media into it public relations and public education strategy, while establishing controls that set boundaries for protecting privacy and firefighter safety.

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  5. alohaild831 · April 23, 2016

    You are correct, “ there is no catching up”…. I continue to get reminders each day to upgrade this and that, and I tend to choose, “remind me later”. I think it is because I am afraid that I will not have the time or energy to learn any of the new items that have been included in the upgrade. My husband is in IT (fortunate for me), and I tend to just leave it up to him in terms of what new technology we “really need”. This of course is funny in my family since I gravitated to a new department whose main mission in the university is to implement/use innovation/technology throughout all curriculum. It is forcing me to get out of my comfort zone and learn. 8 weeks ago, I did not know how to start a Blog… and we have been communicating with each other in this new venue. It has given me new ideas in terms of how I can better interact with more students. What can be accomplished if I harness the collective knowledge of my students and fellow faculty in order to change for the better how we teach at our university.

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