How Leaders Can Catch Up with the Latest Technologies

For non-technical senior-level executives, it is critical to know the tools that your business depends on to stay ahead of the competition. In a new report, Alder Koten provides some tips to bring you up to date quickly and effectively.

June 12, 2020 – The world is constantly changing. To advance, you must learn the latest technologies. There’s no way around it. Of course, the depth of the knowledge required differs from person to person, depending on your job. In a recent report, Jorge Davalos, managing partner of executive search and leadership consulting firm Alder Koten, offered some key points for how a non-technical C-level executive can catch up with the latest technologies to maximize success.

Machine learning, artificial intelligence, data analytics and data science have changed how businesses perform and make profits. If you’re unfamiliar with what they are, make it your priority to understand them, at least their definitions and their examples.

“In the next few years, it’s predicted that all types of business will rely on data analytics and data science to make the best decisions,” said Alder Koten. “And machine learning and AI will dominate how business is executed in the future, which may reduce human employees. That’s the future of technologies in business. Recognize it early, today.”

Understand your Learning Style

It’s important to optimize your learning, so you can retain more knowledge quickly. Do you learn better by reading? Watching videos or using visuals? Writing notes down? While running on the treadmill? Most people learn technologies well when they’re using them. “Whatever your primary learning style is, make sure to be hands-on when it comes to learning a new gadget or application,” said the search firm.

Understand the Landscape of Technological Advancement

In your business, recognize the latest technologies that would be a game changer. While the list could be quite long, you’d need to be able to describe what they are and what their functions are in the company.

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“For instance, if you’re in the finance industry, blockchain-based tools would be greatly helpful in eliminating fraud,” said Alder Koten. “If you’re in the fashion industry, AI robots are now substituting human employees from creating patterns, cutting the fabric, sewing, and ironing the final clothes. Low-paid sweatshop workers might not even be needed anymore in a few more years.”

Understand the Most Urgent Things to Learn

Depending on the industry of your business, you’d need to be able to actually operate several tools that are handy and easy to operate. For instance, if you’re in the retail industry, learn how to operate a price scanner and a cashier register.

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They may sound trivial, but without some knowledge of how they operate, you wouldn’t be able to use them. “Be humble enough to find out by start reading the user’s manuals, if available,” said Alder Koten. “You’d be surprised to know what operating them isn’t as easy as it looks. By operating them, you’ll have a clearer picture of how the data are collected and sent away to the analytics software for further actions.”

Find the Best Mentor

Appoint a mentor so you can ask about the details of the tools you’re learning. Sometimes, small things aren’t that small after all. There are basic, intermediate and advanced features in every tool, so most likely you’d be able to figure out the basic ones, but not the advanced ones. A mentor is a good source of information on things that you can’t figure out by yourself.

Stay Humble and Learn Every Day

Stay humble and hungry to learn new things every single day. If you’re humble enough to learn from your employees, they will respect you more. You’ll be seen as a leader who can walk the talk. After all, being a leader is being a facilitator, not being someone who bosses around with their nose in the air.

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Few executives would deny the powerful role that mentorship plays in providing opportunities for personal and professional development. Indeed, most have experienced these benefits firsthand. Yet when it comes to understanding how mentoring operates – let alone how it could be harnessed to support, develop, and retain talented people – most of those same executives have little grounding in data or experience beyond their own.

“At last, everyone in the company needs to learn about new technologies related to their business and industry,” said Alder Koten. “Stay relevant by keeping yourself updated on the latest technologies and how you can implement them in your business. Those who don’t join the new technology bandwagon are prone to be left behind.”

Related: Baby Boomers, Millennials and the Value of Mentorship

Alder Koten, which is headquartered in Houston, helps shape organizations through a combination of research, executive search, cultural & leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services. The firm was founded in 2011 and currently includes six partners and over 28 consultants in four cities. The firm has additional locations in Guadalajara, Monterrey and Mexico City with partner firms around the U.S. and the world. The sectors it serves are wide-ranging and include aerospace, defense and marine; automotive and land vehicles; construction and projects; consumer markets; financial services, professional services and others.

Mr. Davalos leads Alder Koten’s financial officers practice. He is involved in executive search work focused on CEOs, CFOs, directors and senior-level executives. His work focuses on helping clients acquire, develop and transition leadership talent through a combination of research, executive search, cultural and leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services. Mr. Davalos has held leadership positions with Amrop, Deloitte, Vision Consulting and Business Design Associates (BDA) in the U.S., U.K., Spain and Mexico.

Related: Alder Koten Places CEO at Farmacias Benavides

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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