While the digital era has undoubtedly triggered the biggest technology transition in history, it has brought on a whole new set of operational challenges for organizations and their leaders, says John Chambers, executive chairman at Cisco. In a recent interview with global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, Chambers said that to keep up with the rapid pace of growth, companies will need to implement structural changes, and argues that those who fail to adapt are just likely to fail entirely. Chambers goes into more depth, saying:

 

“If you’re a leader in today’s world, whether you’re a government leader or a business leader, you have to focus on the fact that this is the biggest technology transition ever. This digital era will dwarf what’s occurred in the information era and the value of the Internet today. As leaders, if you don’t transform and use this technology differently—if you don’t reinvent yourself, change your organization structure; if you don’t talk about speed of innovation—you’re going to get disrupted. And it’ll be a brutal disruption, where the majority of companies will not exist in a meaningful way 10 to 15 years from now.”

 

 

Essentially, while technology has positively impacted the way businesses operate and communicate, it has also proven to be fundamentally “disruptive,” a term often heard throughout the energy industry. Implementing the technology is only half the battle, while changing your strategy, is the other. 

 

What does a CEO have to do differently to be successful? Focus on how things work together horizontally, as opposed to operating in silos. If communication is fragmented within your organization, and operational practices are not aligned, you will get left behind. Your chances of becoming irrelevant and being displaced by a smaller company with fewer executives and larger revenue will be greater— and that’s something no CEO wants to happen.