In order to be an effective leader in this day and age, one must possess a myriad of qualities. It can be assumed that a leader in the 21st century is knowledgeable, forward thinking and innovative. First, in order to remain knowledgeable, leaders must continually read and learn about the technological advances that are occurring on a daily basis. As cliche as the term “life-long learner” may have recently become, it is an important phrase for leaders to live by. Between books, articles, blogs, multimedia presentations, speeches, etc., there is an enormous amount of information generated on a daily basis for leaders to stay up to date on.
Additionally, leaders must be forward thinking. They must be capable of watching a video on technologies of the future such as Corning’s A Day Made of Glass and comprehend what they are seeing. As a constantly evolving field, technology can, at times, present far-fetched ideas. It is the responsibility of the leader to make sense of what they are witnessing and consider future implications. This is also where the importance of innovation plays a role in the life of a leader. It is imperative that “out of the box” thinking takes place in regards to technological progress. Innovative leaders will quickly set themselves apart from their peers if they are able to come up with unique ways to apply and utilize new technologies. Innovation is a must!
One positive that has resulted from new technology: technology has made it easier for us to stay current with new technologies! Thanks to social media (i.e. Twitter) or Web 2.0 (i.e. Google Drive), today’s leaders have powerful tools at their fingerprints. Collaboration, access to information, etc. are all results that leaders strive for. When considering Kevin Kelly’s keynote at NExTWORK in July 2011, he discusses the six verbs that describe the evolution of the major trends in technology. These verbs: Screening, Interacting, Sharing, Flowing, Accessing and Generating are each indicative of a period over the last decade or so in which technology shifted. Each shift resulted in a change of behavior for society as they reacquainted themselves with a new way of thinking. Just as society had to change, leaders had to adapt. Without this ability to adapt, a leader would not be able to succeed as technology progressed.
Fast forward three years and I’m not sure what verb Kevin Kelly would identify as #7 on his list. One thing, however, is certain; technology will never stop changing. The trends will continue and whether it be Google Glass, Corning’s A Day Made of Glass or some new type of invention that is just being designed, if a leader does not adapt him/herself to include these new initiatives they will be left behind.