Leading a technology business today isn’t easy. Innovation and changing markets can upend companies faster than ever.
To avoid some of the inevitable turbulence and emerge as winners, executives must encourage diversity, imbue employees with a greater purpose, and embrace failure (at least, in reasonable doses).
“I’ve failed many times in my career,” said Jimmy Wales, co-founder of online encyclopedia Wikipedia and currently working on news startup WikiTribune. “If I never fail again, it’s probably that I’m not doing anything interesting.”
Managing disruption, a buzzword that is repeated like a mantra in the tech industry these days, was the focus of a panel in May at the Dreamforce conference in London, hosted by business software giant Salesforce. In the end, there are no easy answers to the problem that is reflected in everything from Uber’s struggle to graduate from adolescence into adulthood—as reflected by a series of scandals and management shakeups— to the proliferation of fake news.
“I’m a strong believer that disruption will anyhow occur one way or another,” said Neelie Kroes, a former Dutch politician who also served as European Commissioner for Digital Agenda. “We can make up our minds—are we using it or are we taken by disruption? I’m a strong believer in staying in the driver’s seat. “