Making An Impact Through Effective Technology Leadership

Making An Impact Through Effective Technology Leadership

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The advertising industry is changing rapidly in unprecedented ways. From the convergence of OTT, TV, mobile and online to harnessing insights from big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, we’re shifting the way we connect with audiences.

This leads to an emergence of disruptive business models that are heavily reliant on technology. To stay competitive, companies are now rapidly dissolving boundaries across technology and product, go-to-market strategies and talent engagement efforts. Now more than ever, technology leaders must actively create the space our teams need to innovate, cross-collaborate, grow and thrive in this environment.

Technologists must challenge the common misconception that engineering is solely responsible for in-the-weeds, back-office technical processes and infrastructure. While it will always be key to ensure our product development meets the highest technical standards, CTOs must also extend their impact by shaping the company’s strategic road map and tweaking its decisions around product innovation, business operations and diversity and inclusion.

When designing a strategy to successfully lead a team through evolution, there are five key steps to consider.

1. Prioritize Diversity

Prioritize hiring diverse and critical thinkers. By building a smart team with varying backgrounds and experiences, you will be able to develop more rich and complex insights that inform short- and long-term strategies. As a result, employees will be better set up to learn about something new and to share information and ideas, whether it’s for products and systems or company culture and team-building.

2. Bring Out the Best in Your Team

As technologists, we innately think our ideas are the “best” ideas, and often, those stepping into leadership roles think, “How can I implement my best ideas?” Technology play is a team sport, and bringing the best ideas together without egos is key for everyone’s success. A leader’s job is not to have the best idea. Rather, they need to bring out the best in others. Drawing out innovation and strategic insights from an entire organization of technologists, data scientists and engineers means we must be open to learning and encouraging a free flow of new ideas and differing opinions.

3. Step Into Unfamiliar Territory

Resist the instinct to play to your strengths and instead lean into unfamiliar territory. In order to lead an entire organization or department, you must focus on the big picture, rather than prioritizing, even unconsciously, the areas you know well. For example, as my company makes its current transition from a pure digital advertising technology stack into an organization with a multi-faceted approach to transforming media, I have shifted my focus from our digital platform, which I’ve come to know like the back of my hand, to learning more about the scale of our TV, media and data-integration capabilities.

4. Delegate

As a leader, you cannot delegate without unlearning and becoming comfortable removing yourself from day-to-day operations. Giving your employees space to take on challenges will support their growth and allow you to think more strategically about tackling key commercial goals and challenges. There are always opportunities to continue playing to your strengths so that you’re still hands-on and technical. Often, you can find opportunities to do it for a good cause, rather than just commercial growth.

5. Be Transparent

As a CTO and a leader in technology, being transparent with employees about the progression of automation and cloud strategy is critical to building trust. Our duty as IT leaders is to remind both management and employees that IT is not a cost center, but rather a revenue enabler and a driver of innovation within the company.

At my company, each of these steps is a critical part of our approach to leading the convergence of emerging advertising platforms. As we all consider major shifts taking place in the industry, it’s more important than ever that we empower our teams to expand our own realm of expertise and encourage openness within our organizations.

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The advertising industry is changing rapidly in unprecedented ways. From the convergence of OTT, TV, mobile and online to harnessing insights from big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, we’re shifting the way we connect with audiences.

This leads to an emergence of disruptive business models that are heavily reliant on technology. To stay competitive, companies are now rapidly dissolving boundaries across technology and product, go-to-market strategies and talent engagement efforts. Now more than ever, technology leaders must actively create the space our teams need to innovate, cross-collaborate, grow and thrive in this environment.

Technologists must challenge the common misconception that engineering is solely responsible for in-the-weeds, back-office technical processes and infrastructure. While it will always be key to ensure our product development meets the highest technical standards, CTOs must also extend their impact by shaping the company’s strategic road map and tweaking its decisions around product innovation, business operations and diversity and inclusion.

When designing a strategy to successfully lead a team through evolution, there are five key steps to consider.

1. Prioritize Diversity

Prioritize hiring diverse and critical thinkers. By building a smart team with varying backgrounds and experiences, you will be able to develop more rich and complex insights that inform short- and long-term strategies. As a result, employees will be better set up to learn about something new and to share information and ideas, whether it’s for products and systems or company culture and team-building.

2. Bring Out the Best in Your Team

As technologists, we innately think our ideas are the “best” ideas, and often, those stepping into leadership roles think, “How can I implement my best ideas?” Technology play is a team sport, and bringing the best ideas together without egos is key for everyone’s success. A leader’s job is not to have the best idea. Rather, they need to bring out the best in others. Drawing out innovation and strategic insights from an entire organization of technologists, data scientists and engineers means we must be open to learning and encouraging a free flow of new ideas and differing opinions.

3. Step Into Unfamiliar Territory

Resist the instinct to play to your strengths and instead lean into unfamiliar territory. In order to lead an entire organization or department, you must focus on the big picture, rather than prioritizing, even unconsciously, the areas you know well. For example, as my company makes its current transition from a pure digital advertising technology stack into an organization with a multi-faceted approach to transforming media, I have shifted my focus from our digital platform, which I’ve come to know like the back of my hand, to learning more about the scale of our TV, media and data-integration capabilities.

4. Delegate

As a leader, you cannot delegate without unlearning and becoming comfortable removing yourself from day-to-day operations. Giving your employees space to take on challenges will support their growth and allow you to think more strategically about tackling key commercial goals and challenges. There are always opportunities to continue playing to your strengths so that you’re still hands-on and technical. Often, you can find opportunities to do it for a good cause, rather than just commercial growth.

5. Be Transparent

As a CTO and a leader in technology, being transparent with employees about the progression of automation and cloud strategy is critical to building trust. Our duty as IT leaders is to remind both management and employees that IT is not a cost center, but rather a revenue enabler and a driver of innovation within the company.

At my company, each of these steps is a critical part of our approach to leading the convergence of emerging advertising platforms. As we all consider major shifts taking place in the industry, it’s more important than ever that we empower our teams to expand our own realm of expertise and encourage openness within our organizations.

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