Embracing Disruption: A CEO's Guide to Navigating Turbulent Times

by Jeff Schmidt, CEO

As we begin the next year, it’s a good time to pause, reflect, and recalibrate for the journey ahead. I think it’s evident to all of us in the tech industry that now, more than ever, the only constant is change. The truth is, we’re working and living through a time of great disruption — both in technology and the world at large. From the rapid adoption of Gen AI and other advances, to a global stage marked by political upheaval, unrest, and conflict, the need for adept leadership and adaptability has never been more pronounced.

Reflecting on my first year here at ECI, I want to share a few insights that may help you manage disruption as you lead your team into the new year.

1. Evolve to be Better

As a year ends, the natural inclination may be to dwell on shortcomings or mishaps. However, as leaders, we owe it to our teams to celebrate triumphs, progress, wins, and the moments that define your success. Opportunities for transformation are all around us, and its important that you position them in a positive light. Acknowledge that the company you lead today is not the same as it was in the past. Embrace change and leverage it to shore up your organization's core strengths. Evolving with purpose and determination is key to sustainability and growth.

2. Put Customers First

This is solid advice at any time, but particularly now. Clients aren't merely transactions; they're partners navigating disruption alongside us. It's imperative to prioritize their needs and experiences — and to make sure each and every person understands and lives the same mission: to serve clients. Every team member, whether customer-facing or behind the scenes, contributes to ensuring your clients feel supported.

3. Be Stronger Together

One of Aesop’s fables tells the story of an old man, his sons, and some sticks. He invites each son to break a single stick, which they do with ease. But, when he lashes the sticks together, the bundle becomes unbreakable. Our organizations thrive when we work together — especially in changing and challenging times. Working together, we develop better products and services; more importantly, we craft more cohesive experiences — for ourselves and our clients. What we do is tough, but together we can make it look easy.

4. Nurture Leadership at All Levels

Today, leadership isn't confined to tenure or titles. An important part of our job as executives is to recognize, encourage, and nurture leadership qualities at every level. Every action, decision, or

interaction has the potential to positively transform experiences. Our aim isn't to merely manage crises; it's to continually evolve and progress daily.

5. Return to Physical Workplaces if Possible

Over the past several months, I’ve seen genuine joy as team members reunite physically. After all the challenges (and potential isolation) of working remotely, gathering together again has rekindled collective enthusiasm and unity. Despite differing schedules and diverse locations, the return to physical workplaces has revitalized both employee engagement and pride in our work.

6. And, Practice Gratitude in Tough Times

Change can be good, but it can also be fairly exhausting. When faced with dwindling energy, practicing gratitude for all the fundamentals — health, family, a dedicated team, exceptional clients — can be revitalizing. Remember: even amidst challenges, there's always something to be grateful for.

Finally, as we head into 2024, I invite you to learn more about our upcoming forum, "Harness the Power of AI, Efficiently and Securely with Microsoft 365 Copilot and ECI." It will be our largest client event to date and it’s scheduled for February 7, 2024, at Microsoft's New York Tech Center.

‘Wishing you the very best in navigating the challenges — and opportunities — of 2024.

Microsoft 365 Copilot

Speak With One Of Our Experts Today

Learn How ECI Can Unlock Real Value For Your Firm.