The Rise of the T-suite

TechnologyBecause all business goals are supported by technology in some way, company leaders need to have perspective on, a vision for, and competencies in technology to feel comfortable making technology-related decisions as they relate to marketing, security, and more. This leads to one vital question all CEOs must answer:

Are you recruiting your C-suite to meet future technology demands?

I’m not talking about CTOs and CIOs only here; instead, I’m addressing the idea that every executive must have a solid working knowledge of current technology and the vision to see emerging tech in order to perform his or her duties, enable the business, and/or serve its customers.

C-suites can’t become silos where technology decisions across marketing and sales begin and end with someone explaining technology that has been around for years (and that other competitors are already leveraging).

The C-suite needs to become the T-suite, in which every functional chief embraces and comprehends the technology that makes goals attainable.

3 Steps to Embrace the T-suite

  1. Promote the idea that understanding technology isn’t one person’s job, but is every person’s responsibility. This doesn’t mean you have to be on Twitter every second of every day or can backup your computer to redundant clouds. It does mean no one should be a roadblock to emerging tech adoption or should feel like they aren’t qualified to have an opinion just because they aren’t a CIO or CTO.
  2. Don’t think of tech as the solution, but rather as part of the process. Involve your tech teams in business and strategy decisions early, instead of after goals have been set. They can provide perspective and solutions that are as valuable in planning stages as they are in execution.
  3. Know what questions to ask; this means learning the lingo. Keep up to date on tech vernacular and foster an environment where it isn’t embarrassing to ask a question, but it is embarrassing to ask the same one over and over.

Recruiting for the T-suite

During our assessment and recruitment process, we’re looking for successes and failures of technology-enabled strategies in the past. We aren’t testing candidates’ technical abilities and quizzing them on programming skills, but rather, in the interviewing and referencing portions of our process, we are assessing an understanding of technology concepts and how those concepts have been applied to support and grow a business.

When it comes to CMOs, the need for a tech-adept competencies is clear. With the onslaught of marketing automation tools and social media, the CMO needs to be a visionary leader of the organization and needs to understand the costs and benefits of having “client-side” or “inside-the-firewall” capabilities to accomplish goals.

A competency-focused evaluation method, like the one we have at Lantern Partners, can find and validate nebulous concepts like “technological orientation” and “flexibility in dealing with new tools and processes.” Getting the right people who know not only what today’s technology industry is doing, but can also adapt to what tomorrow’s will bring, is important for the goals of your business.