January 2018 | Point of View

Why the technology leadership gap matters to you

Why the technology leadership gap matters to you

As technology advances quickly, at the top of every employer’s wish list is the very best technology talent. And the war for talent is hotter than ever. Amazon is opening a second headquarters with an estimated 50,000 jobs, and some are calling the U.S. economy at “full employment.” This makes it harder to find and retain not only the very best people, but the hardest-to-find people.

With today’s high-level business initiatives equal parts business and technology, we are all looking for the technically gifted who can drive business results and help our companies change—and fast. But as you assemble and build up your technical work force, are you assessing individuals for their ability to lead?

Odds are your answer is “no,” and that’s having an impact on your organization’s ability to succeed and drive value—to adapt in a world where everything is digital, and where technology and business leaders are equally responsible for company initiatives. We explored this lack of technology leadership in a recent national survey and found a lack of focus on soft skills among technologists, such as verbal and written communication and collaboration, is a primary reason that technology talent may not be reaching your leadership expectations today.

And yet, your business is starved for it. A majority, or 60% of business workers across the country, ranked leadership as the weakest skill among their technology peers. However, recruiters said leadership potential is often overlooked when assessing technology candidates, preferring to prioritize technical expertise and other skills over leadership. What’s worse, 42% of companies provide no soft skills training, including leadership training, for tech employees

Therein lies the gap that needs to be bridged – business workers want their technologist peers to lead with them, but companies are not prioritizing leadership skills when hiring tech employees, nor are they providing sufficient professional development once hired. The result we see: Companies seek better infrastructure, more agile business models, and actionable data that drives customer engagement – but they need technology leadership to get there.

I encourage you to read the study to learn how you can improve in your own organization. You can also learn the critical changes your organization can make to develop effective technology leaders.

West Monroe was built by, and continues to be led by, a group of business-minded technologists – those who possess an “uncommon blend” of business acumen and deep technology expertise. This is how we approach every business problem, and how we grow our incredible people who impress me (and our clients) every day.

Our expectation for all employees at West Monroe – when they are first hired and as we develop them throughout their careers – is to always seek to speak each other’s languages, and hold each other accountable for being strong communicators, collaborators, team players, and most of all, leaders. That is how we have moved our business forward, and how we help you move forward, too.

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