Get the organization behind your message: technology shapes positive impact
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Technology is an indispensable tool to deliver and improve on your organizational positive impact. But not necessarily the first tool that comes to most minds. More likely candidates are material use and recycling, supply chain’s footprint, working conditions and CO2 compensation. You can put technology on that same stage. To achieve this, it’s important to reframe technology’s purpose and strengthen organizational alignment
This post is part of a series about technology and organizational positive impact
- A guide to organizational positive impact, tech edition
- Doing good drives profitability
- Major events and big statements
- Be consistent about your positive impact
- A strong purpose proposition requires agility and resilience
- Agility and organizational complexity, beware of the present
- How to create positive impact with technology? Foster critical thinking
- Technology as an accelerator for positive impact
- Assess how technology shapes your organizational positive impact
- Reframe technology’s purpose and strengthen organizational alignment
The human approach
If you want to put technology on an organizational stage, people outside of tech need to understand its potential. So, you could talk about technology. But that might not reach your audience. My advice is to be aspirational. Turn your message into a compelling story.
This is a tweet from Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., to celebrate National Teacher Day 2020 in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis. “Today we celebrate teachers everywhere, like Jodie from Coppell Middle School East in Texas, who are imagining new ways to keep their students engaged and learning during these challenging times. Thank you for your compassions, creativity and tireless work!”.
To me that is more engaging than “We provide a cross-platform, multi-cloud solution. Our DNS service is latency-aware, ensuring that users have a fast experience when using applications. In addition, we guarantee a high level of security by protecting encryption keys within Hardware Security Modules designed and validated to government standards for secure key management. Our containerized applications are easy to scale and maintain and makes efficient use of available system resources”.
Forging alliances outside tech
To reach and collaborate beyond technology, you need to shift from a technical to an organizational perspective. Listen, connect, partner-up and find common grounds. Make sure you are heard too. Craft your story. What does technology have to offer? Show outcomes. Be specific and make it personal. Your audience needs to feel you are talking to them.
Introduce past successes that are the result of applying technology. And introduce present-day concerns that can seriously hurt your organization. Make your partnership the hero that produce strengths and overcome concerns. For examples of successes and concerns, use the insights gathered during the assessment described in the previous post. Limit your examples and only use those that strongly appeal to your audience.
It takes time and effort to forge alliances. Therefore, make it part of your routine to build bridges between tech and non-tech. Low-hanging fruit is existing crossovers such as the cross-functional team that performed the quick-scan and assessment, discussed in the previous post. Also, identify other existing cross-functional teams that are successful. The team members and their management are likely to understand the power of technology and be ambassadors for its contribution to your organizational positive impact. Especially now that technology has proven to be indispensable to the continuity of business during the Covid-19 crisis.
This is the last post in a series about technology and organizational positive impact. It’s paramount that technology is up to standards, to be highly beneficial to the positive impact and the bottom-line of your organization. More importantly, the real lever is the organization itself. Outstanding technology only shines if the organization is willing and able to get behind a long-term commitment in a resilient and agile way. You’ll find my posts and more at SogetiLabs.
Acknowledge and address the world outside technology.
If you want to move beyond technology and include organizational perspectives, then technology itself needs to move beyond technology. This includes different behavior and mindset for tech-people. From the CIO to management to operations. You need to be an ambassador. Acknowledge and address the world outside technology. Incorporate more than facts and features. Because reasons, facts and logic are only half the story. You need to appeal to emotions and intuition.
Create space for technology on a C-suite level and make your actions part of your organization’s strategic roadmap. Such as a business model canvas. I’ve mentioned the canvas in the second post in the series, “Doing good drives profitability”.
Intuition, emotions and storytelling
For facts about the role of intuition, emotions and storytelling in a business environment.
- How to Tell a Great Story, Carolyn O’Hara, 2014
- Exploring intuition and its role in managerial decision making, Erika Dane and Michael G. Pratt, 2007.
- When to Sell with Facts and Figures, and When to Appeal to Emotions, Michael D. Harris, 2015.
Metrics on sustainability
If you want to reach beyond technology, you could use metrics that are known outside of tech. For further reading on metrics on sustainability. Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, SASB Toward Common Metrics and Consistent Reporting of Sustainable Value Creation. An Economic Forum paper prepared in collaboration with EY, KPMG, Deloitte, PWC.
About Léon de Bakker
Léon leads digital transformations with a core focus on future-proofing organizations and putting purpose into action. Aligning teams, business and technology across all layers of the organization and its key stakeholders with a wide lens and an open mindset. He studied business economics, has technology experience since 2001 and has supported organizations with their transformation journeys since 2003. Léon is passionate about all that is tech, new gadgets and visual design. Currently, Léon is working on connecting purpose and technology as key drivers for organizational change. He’s exploring innovative ways to redefine and remeasure growth and success in a world in urgent need of more businesses moving positive impact front and center.
More on Léon de Bakker.