It would be easy to be seduced into thinking that simple tips and techniques can solve many of the complex problems we face today. Experts offer easy steps to follow on everything from how to make you a better leader, through to living a healthier lifestyle.
But we often do not spend the time to understand the question, before we rush to the comfort of easy answers.
Sharing the ignorance
Reg Revans, the father of Action Learning makes a great point about the value of asking fresh questions in this video clip. He worked with ten Nobel Prize winners in the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University in the early 1930s. The team was probably one of the most remarkable groups of scientific minds ever assembled.
But in their weekly meetings, they were allowed to speak, only on condition that they talked about where they were failing. They shared their ignorance with each other and asked themselves ‘fresh questions.’
“If you think you understand a problem, make sure you are not deceiving yourself.”
– Albert Einstein comment to Reg Revans, father of Action Learning –
Reg Revans used this experience to develop his theory of Action Learning. He believed that people learn best from sharing their ‘here and now’ challenges and asking fresh, insightful questions.
So what is the ‘fresh question’ that we could ask about technology leadership? There is now plenty of expert commentary on addressing the leadership challenge of exponentially accelerating technology change.
Our own Big Kahuna Leadership Survey discovered that technology disruption is top of mind for business leaders. We found that C-suite executives are looking to technology leaders to step up their influence. That will help businesses find their way through the disruptive times ahead.
Plenty of answers
There are also some other notable reports showing a widening disconnect between business and technology leaders.
For example, a Dell Survey of global business leaders suggests that fewer than one-half of CEOs rate their own CIO positively. On the other hand, in the businesses where the CIO is actively involved in strategy setting, nearly one-half of respondents describe their company’s financial performance as superior to that of their industry peers.
Similarly, a McKinsey report and an IBM white paper conclude that a substantial challenge for IT is demonstrating effective leadership. Dissatisfaction with IT departments has increased, they suggest. The irony is that organisations are also increasingly looking to IT to improve business effectiveness and efficiency, not just manage costs.
A fresh question?
So, it seems that we have asked the question about the impact of technology and discovered that it is the number one thing on the minds of CEOs. And we have asked whether businesses have the necessary leadership to meet the challenge and the answer is, “not really.”
So, what is the fresh question that we could ask about the dilemma of rising expectations of technology leaders on the one hand and increasing dissatisfaction with IT on the other?
What is your fresh question?
We are asking business and technology leaders like you to give us your suggestion of a fresh question. We will not attribute your individual response, but we will acknowledge all the leaders who have contributed, in a summary report. Please feel free to invite others to participate. We want to stimulate a conversation that takes us beyond mere analysis of the problem.
Once we have all the questions in, we will establish the most frequently asked question.
We will then come back in round two and ask you to respond to this fresh question.
We will incorporate all responses into a summary white paper, which we will send you.
We do hope you will take the opportunity to join other opinion leaders in contributing to this important research project.