detroit-6-2018Two-thirds of C-suite executives believe that 4 out of 10 Fortune 500 companies will no longer exist in 10 years as a result of digital disruption, according to a survey of more than 500 C-level executives conducted across the U.S. and Europe by ChristianSteven Software. 

In order to help their companies to survive and thrive, CIOs and other organizational leaders must reshape their leadership philosophy. "Leaders in these highly disruptive times must think outside the white space to drive innovation for the business," said Hunter Muller, President and CEO at HMG Strategy which hosted the 2018 Detroit CIO Executive Leadership Summit on June 8.

Today's leadership refresh includes being proactive about new business opportunities and transformational technologies to keep challenging yourself and staying ahead of competitors. "FAANG-BAT companies such as Amazon and Google are elevating customer expectations," said Sangy Vatsa, EVP & CIO, Comerica Bank. We as organizational leaders can't wait for it to happen, we have to get out in front of it."

One of the ways that technology executives can think differently is by examining the principles and practices of successful companies such as Amazon to inspire creative ideas for their own organizations. "Amazon's first leadership principle is being customer-obsessed," said John Rossman, former Amazon executive, Managing Partner, Rossman Partners and author of The Amazon Way Series. "It's not just a headline, they truly mean it. This includes drawing off its Voice of the Customer (VoC) program to better understand and act on customer needs and interests."

Digital-era technologies also requires having a Digital-era mindset. "You can't think linear/analog - you have to think digital/exponential to succeed in today's competitive environment," said Christopher Mandelaris, VP, Chief Information Security and Privacy Officer, Chemical Bank.

It's also imperative for executives to cultivate a culture of innovation. This includes providing employees with the time and resources to brainstorm on innovation concepts together. At Ally "we give people time off their day jobs to connect with other people and drive innovation," said Angie Tuglus, EVP of Operations, Ally Insurance, Inc.

The Art of Effective Communications

Reawakened leadership also demands that leaders improve their listening and communications skills. "To listen and communicate effectively, seek to understand and recognize that your viewpoint is the least important at the table," said Renee Arrington, Senior Vice President, Pearson Partners International, Inc. 

Indeed, communication "is often what is lacking in most CIO turnover situations," said Patricia Watters, Managing Partner, DHR International. 

“Effective communications are critical but that’s only a starting point. New collaborative environments and leveraging the ability to process information through machines create value and power beyond what the individuals can accomplish,” said Elizabeth Ebert, Vice President North America IT Advisory Lead, Avanade.

Thanks to their unique view across the enterprise and how people, processes, and technologies are conjoined, CIOs and technology executives can identify and suggest opportunities for transforming the business. 

"At the end of the day, innovation is about business survival," said Vijay Sankaran, CIO, TD Ameritrade.

"You want to constructively disrupt your own business," adds Vatsa. "Because if you don't, someone else will." 

To learn more about HMG Strategy's upcoming summits and the innovative topics that will be explored at them, click here.