I’ve gotten some off-line feedback from CEOs on my last post, “it starts at the top.” I’ve heard that many CEO’s want to use technology strategically, but they don’t know how to translate that into action.
This post will be about the role of the CEO relative to technology. The CEO needs to have the vision of what information and communication can do for their agency, and how it promotes the agency’s strategic vision. If you’re a CEO and don’t already have that view of your agency, here’s how to get it.
Start first with your strategic vision for your organization, and with your mission statement. For example, my organization, Keystone Human Services, has a mission statement that includes the following: Create opportunities for growth and meaningful life choices so that all people can be valued, contributing members of their community. That mission statement is broad enough to encompass many areas of service, but is grounded in the idea of the individual and the community.
That means, then, that everything the organization does, including technology, either contributes toward achieving that mission, or it should be re-evaluated.
Practically speaking, that means that whenever your company is looking for ways to use technology, link it back to the mission. My organization made a commitment a long time ago that every employee needed an email address and needed access to the Internet. Well before this was accepted practice, we moved forward with this vision, because our mission is community-based. The “community” is not just the physical community we can touch, it is also the “virtual” community created on the web. The mission guided us toward the practical technology action we needed to take.
Then the CEO, knowing that this direction would encounter some internal resistance, asked for monthly reports of how we were doing, started sending regular email updates to employees, and started using the tool he wanted others to use. This led to the culture change we were looking for, and set the stage for the use of other tools. We still have a long way to go, but our employees know where we are heading.
If you’re a CEO and your organization isn’t using technology as strategically as you would like, get together with your IT leader(s) and talk about what’s holding you back. If you start at the top, keep it grounded in the mission, and use the tools you want others to use, then you’re on your way.