Communication skills turning managers into leaders

Calling All Leaders: Be Learners or You’ll Miss It!

Leaders must also play a Student Card, constantly paying attention to the disruptive new technologies heading your way.


I recently toured a high-tech Michigan company specializing in RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology for tracking products as they move through the supply chain.  The company produces chip-enabled labels that go on individual products as well as the tracking technology to account for them from manufacturer to end-user.

This technology is becoming very important for agriculture, pharmaceuticals, auto parts and many other industries looking to reduce counterfeiting and product diversion, while also improving quality.

While I was blown away by the capabilities and value of these RFID systems, one question kept filling my brain:  How are leaders supposed to keep up with these new technologies?

It’s not like this is optional.  Just a few years ago, not many people knew about cloud computing, and now most companies use cloud services for convenience, collaboration and security purposes.

The answer is playing both the Student Card and the Expert Card in the course of your showing your Leader Card.  Playing the Student Card means learning about all these disruptive technologies.

A great article I read recently from ARK Invest identifies five disruptive innovations that have tremendous potential to quickly reshape business.

These five technologies are:  DNA sequencing, blockchain, energy storage, robotics and artificial intelligence.  Among them, the article says, blockchain will exert the most disruptive influence on the economy in the coming decade as it facilitates frictionless value transfer.

According to Don and Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution (2016), “The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

It is a time-stamped series of data records, or blocks, that are secured and bound together in a chain using cryptographic principles.  What’s disruptive about this technology is that it has no central authority!  It is an open, shared, an immutable ledger that carries no transaction cost.

This means cutting out the middleman, like a bank or an insurance company whose main function is to be a financial central authority.  Click here to read more about blockchain technology.

Think about a world where each person creates his or her own blockchain to be their own bank or insurance carrier.  This is possible today!  Basically, blockchain is the next Internet.  Mind-bending innovation this is, and many companies are moving quickly to participate.

Leaders cannot stop playing their Student Card.  These technologies are running at us at too fast a pace to ignore.  Are you paying attention?

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