Over a decade ago, the late Peter Drucker (for my money, the wisest business professor and most clear-headed business writer ever) wrote in the Harvard Business Review that the best executives follow 8 similar practices:
- They think about what needs to be done
- Consider what is best for the enterprise
- Develop action plans
- Take responsibility for business decisions
- Encourage communication
- Focus on opportunities instead of problems
- Run productive meetings
- And embody a team mentality
Recently, HBR added a ninth trait, noting in a survey of 35,000 employees that people are happiest at their jobs when they are led by executives who have deep knowledge of the core operations of the business. In the U.S., supervisor competency had a stronger influence on employee job satisfaction than salary.
In today’s increasingly complex, digital work environment, it becomes increasingly critical to understand the core technical concepts underlying the tools and solutions we bring to our jobs every day, while ensuring that executives are balancing that with the necessary core business vision. We often emphasize to clients that while we may be a group of tech-focused individuals, we are first and foremost “all about the business.”
It’s harder than ever to successfully straddle the biz-tech line today, yet more important than ever, too. The only difference between today and when our firm started in the late 80s is that the pace of change is increasing. And along with it, so is the challenge we all face, in simply keeping up.
You’re not alone.