Is it me or is it them?

I was talking to a mentor of mine some years back and was trying to tell him, that it was really not me that was the problem, it was them…!! He nodded wisely and then told me that whilst that may be true, the fact is that I can’t control ‘them’ or what they do or say. On the other hand, the thing I can control is ‘me’ and my response. It was a valuable life lesson and one I have been reminded of recently as I listen to the responses of technology leaders to the key findings from the Big Kahuna Leadership Survey.

The main conclusion of the survey of sixty senior business leaders is that technology leaders need to move up the ‘influence curve.’ Boards and C-suite executives are acutely aware that technology is likely to disrupt their businesses over the next three to five years. They are urgently looking to technology leaders to provide them with strategic guidance on how to both avoid the threat and capitalise on the opportunities of this next wave of disruptive technology.

Put bluntly, they are not seeing technology leaders giving the level of advice they need to bring digital and business strategies together. When I present these findings to groups of technology leaders, their responses sound a bit like my earlier story, “It’s not us, it’s them!” Whilst there is a valid case to be made that all C-suite executives need a good grasp of technology, it misses the point that, we may not be able to change them. However, technology leaders can alter how they respond to the challenge.

There is mounting evidence that C-suite executives around the globe are increasingly dissatisfied with IT. A report commissioned by Dell, “The C-suite Challenges IT,” found that nearly 50% of CEOs viewed their CIOs negatively. Dell’s CTO, Jim Stikeleather, who commissioned the study is traveling the globe challenging C-suite executives to have the conversation we should be having but are not. We are trying to persuade Jim to visit Australia to extend the call for action.

What is alarming is that based on my anecdotal evidence, this finding surprises few people. What is implied is that it is also unlikely to change. What should concern us is that the predictable future is a loss of competitive edge for businesses and a loss of economic value creation for Australia as a nation if we continue with, “It’s not us, it’s them.”

We support the call to have the conversation we should be having, for the sake of businesses everywhere. We are extending the question we asked respondents in the Big Kahuna Leadership Survey, “How could technology leaders be better developed to meet the challenges you face?” We would love to hear your views so that we can move beyond, “It’s not me, it’s them.” Click here to participate.