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Leadership And Technology ‒ Five Questions When Considering Technology Changes

Written by: Dr. Burl W Randolph Jr., Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


“The only constant in life is change.” Heraclitus, A Greek philosopher of Ephesus (near modern Kuşadası, Turkey). Although change may be the only constant, most people remain averse to change. Leadership and management expert, Dr. John Kotter wrote that “Management is about coping with complexity. Leadership is about coping with change.” In organizations, there may be no more complex changes than deciding on technology upgrades. Most say, ‘Just leave IT (information technology) to the IT professionals, and that would be fine except for one thing: Leaders are the ones paid and entrusted to make decisions to cope with the changes. What are some of the questions a leader may need to ask before finalizing technology changes?

Five Questions for Leaders When Considering Technology Changes

1. Why do we need to change our technology? This question adheres to the cliché ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’ Probably one of the worst cliches when it comes to technology. There may be three reasons why a change is needed:

  1. To stay current. Keeping up with current technology is always a good thing, provided you can afford it and it fits into your strategic plan. Are periodic technology upgrades part of your strategic plan?

  2. To gain a Competitive Advantage. If an organization is known for having a high degree of technological savvy, then keeping abreast of the most current technology over your competitors may continue giving you or getting you the needed competitive advantage. Can technology gain or keep your competitive advantage?

  3. Obsolescence. Unfortunately, this appears to be the most common reason to change technology because ‘we have old stuff.’ Having ‘old stuff’ is based on the ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ cliché. This may be the highest hurdle to clear when deciding on technology upgrades because the organization is a technology dinosaur hurling towards extinction. How will you move from obsolescence to modernity?

Whatever your reason is for change, clearly outline the why before the changes begin.

2. What do we need to change? It is a rare organization that requires a complete technological makeover. Clearly identify what needs to be changed based on your ‘why’ and your strategic plan. What systems are you updating: HR, Sales, Operations, Logistics, Marketing, Resource Management, etc.? Or are we updating our operating system to the most current version? After identifying your ‘why’ know ‘what’ technology is needed to change. What technology will you change this year?

3. How do we change our technology? Changing technology is not as simple as telling the CIO or IT department ‘New computers for everyone. Best Buy is having a sale!’ Technology changes can be some of the most challenging in your organization because of all the moving pieces that must occur. Identifying vendors and receiving competitive price quotes that meet your Needs Analysis takes time. Considering the quantities needed and if a single source can provide it can further complicate things. What’s your plan to pursue new technology? How will you train personnel on the new equipment, and when?

4. When can we make the changes? The pre-2020 parameters of ‘when’ to make technology changes may be obsolete. The world is more digital now than ever. Based on how the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted the supply chain, ‘immediately’ may be a thing of the past. What formerly took days and weeks to obtain is now taking months and in some cases, a year because of a lack of necessary parts, equipment, and in certain cases, qualified personnel to use the equipment. The question may no longer be ‘when should we make a technology change’ but ‘when can we make a technology change?’ When can you make technology changes? When can we train our personnel on the new equipment?

5. Compatibility between systems can avoid numerous headaches in the future. Although not every system will be compatible with every other system, the compatibility question should still be asked. What system(s) will provide us the greatest compatibility between business functions?

Regardless of how competent your CIO and IT department are, leaders should be intimately involved in deciding technology changes. Remember, leadership is about coping with change, and this includes changes to technology. I hope these five questions are used and beneficial when considering technology changes.

  • How do you know when it is time for a change in technology?

  • Is leadership involved in every facet of technology change?

  • How can your technology changes create competitive or market advantages?

  • How can a change in technology help you improve and grow your business?

Dr. Burl Randolph, Jr. is the President and Chief Consultant of MyWingman, LLC, a Business Leadership and Management Consulting company.

If you would like to learn more about me, my military service, and my leadership and management practices, click here to review my Author’s Page for Inspired, Not Retired: Leadership Lessons from Father to Son.

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Dr. Burl W Randolph Jr., Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dr. Burl Randolph, Jr., DM, is a retired Army Military Intelligence Colonel with nearly 32 years of service and three combat tours in Iraq. He is a Leader Coach, Organizational Planner, Corporate Trainer, Best Selling Author, Government Contractor, and Community Activist. Dr. Randolph professes his life-long calling as mentoring however, as a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, he is versed in all leader and management development techniques. He is the Founder, President, and Chief Consultant of MyWingman, LLC, a Business Leadership and Management Consulting company, where He Helps Leaders Design Legacies That Last ©2015. He is also the author of the Best-Selling book, Inspired, Not Retired.



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