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Technology’s Role in Leadership

Technology

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As technology continues to permeate every part of business today, those of us in leadership roles are quickly evolving to adapt. Since the application of technologies can now directly relate to success in business, it makes sense for leaders to integrate it in every way they can.

I always try to incorporate technology, or at least the ramifications of it, into how I operate at Frontier.

Using technology to stay connected to my teams

I work with a lot of people across the country, so I use a lot of video conferencing. Our sales teams use Salesforce Chatter to collaborate on customer challenges or how to leverage best practices across 28 states. We do a lot of webinar and video-based training that is available on-demand, 24×7, and keeps travel costs down. This is a great way to immediately arm them with new information and also to boost and empower them.

One of the biggest benefits I’ve come to realize is that there is so much to be learned from body language, which is why video is so important for effective collaboration. When you see people, you feel more invested in the meeting, and you’re forced to pay attention and be an active listener. This will lead to more successful and meaningful interactions. And with the abundance of bandwidth and less expensive video end points, it gets cheaper and cheaper to deploy while still being incredibly effective. Bottom line: it’s intimate, it’s personal. You get to be here, while also there.

Leadership evolving in the next five years as technology advances

Technology continues to explode at an astounding rate. There’s no going back. Leadership will need to adapt to keep up, and there are some tried-and-true methods that can help the transition go smoothly. By knowing your team, the corporate environment in which you work, and what technology is being provided, you can attempt to evolve naturally with ever-changing advances. Also, with practices like bring your own device (BYOD) expanding rapidly and personal apps that help with productivity, employees are already setting the pace themselves with a natural progression of their own technology.

As leaders get older and there are more millennials joining the workplace, we need to understand how and where they want to work and juxtapose that with corporate culture to find a happy balance. Some younger people like to work with headphones on while listening to music. That’s great, so long as the work product is there. At some point, with so many tech choices in the future, it’s knowing how to provide flexibility and empowerment without compromising security or culture. Ultimately though, leaders need to learn how to embrace new technologies, while maintaining company culture.

Favorite apps and websites that help manage time and connect more effectively

Being in the Dallas area, I use the American Airlines and Marriott Hotel apps frequently; both are timesavers. I’ve calculated that the Marriott app saves me, on average, 20 minutes per use. That adds up over time!

At Frontier, we and our agency partners use:

Microsoft Lync Messenger – great for internal meetings, quick instant messaging and desktop sharing/collaboration.

Google Docs – lets you view, edit, share, and save documents.

Box.com – allows you to upload or share files, documents, and images from virtually anywhere.

Unplugging after hours or on the weekend

This is 100% a struggle for me. In attempts to counter it, I get up really early and try to clean up my inbox and answer emails until my kids wake up, and then I try not check my phone until I arrive at work. When I get home from the office in the evening, I try to keep my phone in my pocket or not have it around. If I forget, my wife is very good at reminding me! I make an effort to be entirely present. As an executive at a very dynamic company with millions of customers, I have to be available and responsive, and usually am “on” about 16 hours a day. So it’s difficult to disconnect, but I can offer some advice on a strategy that has worked for me: set aside time early in the mornings to get organized and be productive so you can spend time with your family. It’s amazing how perceptive kids are when you’re checked in and checked out, and I’d always rather be checked in for them. On your deathbed, you’ll never look back and say “I wish I had checked more email!”

If you want to check out any of the helpful apps mentioned, you can get them here:

American Airlines:

http://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/traveltools/apps.jsp?anchorLocation=DirectURL&title=apps

Marriott Hotel: http://mobileapp.marriott.com/

Microsoft Lync: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/apps/lync/9wzdncrfhvhm

Google Docs: https://www.google.com/docs/about/

Box.com: https://app.box.com/login

This post is written on behalf of Cory Jones, who currently serves as Vice President of Commercial Marketing for Frontier Communications. In his role, Cory is responsible for all facets of business-to-business marketing for the company, including acquisition, retention, digital, social media, lead generation, and marketing communications.

Cory holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Texas Tech University. He lives in the Dallas area with his wife and two children, and is on an eternal quest to finally break par on the golf course.