Blogging series graphicBalancing acts – we all have to do them. Whether that involves juggling work tasks with social activities, or eating clean during the week then ordering pizza at the weekend. It’s the same deal for chief technology officers like me. In my eyes, the modern CTO must effectively juggle the interests of your leadership team and everyday users of the technology.

Image of group collaborating while working on Black Surface Pro 6 inside officeWhat your leadership team really want from technology

Now more than ever before, the technology employees use is proving to be a point of difference between companies that succeed and those that don’t. Why? Because modern technology opens up new possibilities for flexible, creative, and better working. Of course, with all this smart, new technology on offer, business leaders have hard decisions to make. And, in my experience, they have a diverse set of goals in mind when approaching this task. Broadly speaking, they want to:

  • Optimise operations and cut costs
  • Engage customers across channels, while boosting loyalty
  • Innovate and stand out from their competitors
  • Get more from their employees

What employees really want from technology

Of course, technology decisions don’t just affect the business and its leaders. Employees also have certain needs. They want access to their favourite apps. There will be generational differences and their individual motivations to consider as well. Sure, tech can augment employees’ skills and capabilities. But, more importantly, it can help them do their best work and achieve their own goals. In my experience, employees want technology that helps them:

  • Be more creative
  • Work together better
  • Complete work more easily
  • Stay safe and compliant on and offline

When they have technology that helps them do all of that in the way they find best, they’ll be happier, more productive, and more engaged. Which means they’ll do their very best work for their employer. They’ll want to stick around. And new talent will be eager to come on board, too.

Starting to see how the idea of the balancing act comes in?

Students meeting in a conference room on a video call with their female team member

How to strike the right balance between leadership and employees

As a CTO, your role is to bridge the gap between what business outcomes the leadership team wants to drive, and what your employees want to achieve daily. While also getting everybody on board with technology changes. In short, you have to choose and implement the kinds of tools that people want to use. The kinds of tools that can help everyone achieve everything they want. What’s more, you have to think beyond technical delivery, to how you’ll get everyone engaged with the process.

This practice of change management takes employees on the journey right from the very beginning. So, when it comes to adoption, everyone’s committed. Not just the leaders. This might mean getting members of the leadership team involved from the start of each project. Or it might mean managers embedding the change in their coaching and bringing in relevant training to build skills in their team.

It’s all about striking a balance so new technology isn’t just an investment, but an occasion. Your employees are excited by it and want to use it. I’ll leave you with these four questions I always ask before considering new technology:

  1. What are the strategies or outcomes my business wants to achieve?
  2. Could technology solutions fulfil or contribute to these goals?
  3. How could employees benefit from this technology?
  4. How could we take them along with us on the change journey?

The points I’ve covered are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like to learn more, why not explore our Microsoft 365 offering? It’s packed with features and tools that can help your employees – and your organisation’s leaders – achieve their goals.

Find out more

Leadership in the time of artificial intelligence

David Rodger

About the author

David Rodger is Microsoft’s CTO for the enterprise commercial business. Alongside his community of strategists, he identifies where and how the right tech can drive change and success. Here, he talks about how modern technology is changing the role of the CTO and how you can balance the needs of your leadership team with those of employees.