Biz, Tech & Brains- Episode 5

A transformation is only as powerful as the people who drive it.

 

In our latest episode of Biz, Tech & Brains, we bring to you excerpts from our conversation with Stacey Hines (Chief Transformation Officer of BCIC, Founder and CEO of Epic Transformation Ltd, and Chairman of DRT Communications Ltd) – a Tech Leader, an Entrepreneur, an Author, a Coach, and a Mother. A lot to share from our conversation with Stacey on Leadership, Technology, her guiding philosophy, and the importance of people in bringing transformational change. Diving right in:

Manomay: At Manomay, our core belief is that technology for businesses is beyond technology.
We recognize that technology’s impact demands transformation at cultural and organizational levels. In your role as CTO, what is your approach to an effective transformation?

Stacey: My answer may be somewhat unexpected. The primary emphasis should be on people and change management. Merely implementing the latest technology isn’t the solution. Without a workforce that is well-trained, agile, innovative, and adaptable to the evolving ecosystem and market changes, transformation efforts are likely to face challenges and may not yield the desired outcomes.

Manomay: We share the same perspective! While people and organizational change management play crucial roles, decisions for transformation typically originate from the top. Taking customer experience as an example, a transformation from Business-as-usual warrants a complete shift in thinking. How do you believe the C-Suite should lead through these sometimes-uncomfortable transitions?

Stacey: In the transformation journey, the initial step is crafting a clear vision for the organization, which must prioritize the customer experience while considering both the external (customer), and the internal (workforce) perspectives. The key challenge lies in the top-down approach, as many C-Suite executives often don’t immerse themselves in frontline experiences.

To truly comprehend the customer’s needs, it’s imperative to grasp the interactions with stakeholders, and those engaging directly with customers, as only a comprehensive understanding of the challenges can lead us to the problems that require solutions.

So, it is essential for Leaders to proactively participate in the transformation, and for Stakeholders to step into roles as sponsors, rallying team members to embrace the impending change. Additionally, integrating transformation into key performance indicators ensuring that customer experience and sought-after benefits become integral components of the reporting infrastructure, ultimately contributing to success.

Manomay: In essence success or failure often hinges on the execution and effectiveness of the chosen model.
From your extensive technology specific experience in the US, North American and the Caribbean markets, what differences do you see among them in the insurance and technology space? Additionally, what aspects of the more advanced markets do you believe the Caribbean insurance industry could benefit from adopting? 

Stacey: As you must be aware, the key factor for success in technology ventures is the quality of the org’s people’s resources. So, something as simple as being able to augment my development and quality assurance teams with the resources and right skillsets is crucial but this at times is challenging in the Caribbean.

The earning power of the US provides them with a massive advantage in this regard – resources such as access to different types of funding, and market size, facilitate growth and expansion. That’s one of the main differences. On the other hand, Canada stands out due to their governmental infrastructure as they are far more supportive of organizations and their goals, backing for initiatives related to digital transformation and accelerating progress.

The competitive and performance-oriented approach of the North American Markets is marked by a swift adoption of trends and technologies, which is a significant distinction as well. While there’s some acceleration in the Caribbean, the pace remains distinct. This impacts us, requiring increased investment to keep up with the rapid advancements in North America. Developing these capabilities in our local ecosystem will be a true game-changer.

Manomay: In our experience, if you classify the North American market into tiers, Tier 1 to 5, with Tier 1 being the most advanced, the lower Tiers often mirror the Caribbean market from a technology perspective. However, in parallel industries like E-commerce, there’s huge advancement indicating evolving consumer behavior.

So according to you, is the Caribbean insurance industry reluctant to embrace trends seen in parallel industries within the same region? If yes, why?

Stacey: I would say that the Caribbean industry is hungry for transformation. This is evident in the proactive steps taken by leading insurers to introduce various products and enhance customer experiences through features like online portals and apps. There are of course some that are further along that curve than others and are willing to consciously invest to make the difference. To match the market and industry demands, such a significant investment is essential.

As technologies like AI and the IoT gain traction in advanced regions, it appears inevitable and crucial for the Caribbean industry to undergo a transformative shift.

Manomay: Shifting our focus slightly, when considering thought-leadership, emphasizing humanity in strategy definition is crucial for a leader. Could you elaborate on the role empathy plays in achieving successful leadership?

Stacey: I believe that as leaders, it’s essential for us to be fully aware of who we are individually within the leadership process. How we present ourselves and the level of self-awareness we bring to the table influence our ability to empathize. When reflecting on our presence, it’s clear that external factors often impact us, and we inadvertently carry these influences into the workplace.

So, in the context of a complex initiative like digital transformation, cultivating compassion and empathy becomes crucial, and closely tied to the realm of emotional intelligence. Maintaining a high level of presence is key in such situations. Without it, we risk being unable to comprehend others’ perspectives and connect with empathy.

Manomay: That’s true. And we believe Leadership requires a lot of courage. We have discussed this before, and we understand your guiding philosophy is that everything is created twice – first in the mind and then in reality. What’s your reasoning behind this perspective?

Stacey: I established this belief when I started studying consciousness and the power that I have as an individual. When I discovered the concept of everything being created in our mind’s eye, I started to look at things all around me and realized that life is ultimately a concept in our minds.

The first experience of life creation is thought, and then it becomes real, tangible things. So, the more I started to observe myself and my experiences, the more I realized that I was at the center of it all. The way that I respond to all good or negative things is my responsibility because my thoughts direct my behavior, and my actions, and that inequitably is going to shape the trajectory of my life.

Manomay: Navigating the business world as a woman is not an easy task, in the context of your professional growth as a female leader, did you ever encounter challenges related to gender discrimination?

Stacey: I appreciate your question. Personally, I’m an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion for women in tech. I’m dedicated to educating and helping women understand their strengths, power, and mental resilience. This endeavor stems from my own experiences of learning to create the necessary presence.

In my career of becoming a seasoned executive I have had a considerable learning curve. One notable instance was when I served as the President of the Computer Society, a setting with a limited presence of females. It exposed me to unique challenges, and I experienced a sense of abandonment. Through that, I realized that what seemed to me like discrimination from others often stemmed from their  fear—of change, loss of control, or a lack of approval.

In those times, I recognized my responsibility for my own empowerment. This realization enabled me to support other women facing similar challenges. Today, when I’m approached by individuals seeking guidance, I draw on my experiences to relate to and mentor them in navigating their paths.

Manomay: Aside from being a Tech leader, you had to juggle between a lot of roles as mentioned in your book, like a C-Suite executive, strategist, executive coach, and JTDA president. Having multiple balls up in the air, how were you able to balance all of them?

Stacey: At the time I wrote my book, I was on a typical American employee treadmill—being a wife, a mother, and a professional. I enjoyed many aspects of my life, but unknowingly I was subjecting myself to a lot of stress. In retrospect, I discovered it was akin to crafting a diamond. So, in some way, my thoughts and desires were paving the way for the dreams and the life I wanted.

Through the challenges of mental illness, breast cancer, and divorce, I learned that my primary responsibility needed to be my well-being. When I started prioritizing that, everything else became achievable. I also learned to allow people to support me. I essentially became a student of life to then become a teacher, through which I developed my own methodologies that I’m now leveraging.

By applying the life lessons I learned, I support others in their own journey of becoming and I continue to learn. I would say it has been a very holistic journey.

Manomay: Lastly, is there anything you haven’t shared yet that you’d like your audience and readers to know?

Stacey: I would like to revisit the discussion on my philosophy because ultimately our mindset and how we choose to relate to ourselves plays a significant role in shaping our overall experience, both personally and in the workplace.

I encourage readers to explore the potential of their personal growth and to lean into the possibility of their own becoming. Tapping into self-awareness enables us to become familiar with our true selves, and allows us to operate at our optimal level, even during challenging times. The more we consistently do this, the greater the impact we can make in a way that aligns with our values and the positive environment we aim to create, ultimately elevating not just us but those around us.

Manomay: Stacey, that’s remarkable, a truly impeccable finale to our discussion. You have left us feeling charged and we can’t wait to continue evolving together, taking it – One day at a time!

Want to know more? Reach us at inquisite@manomay.biz or biztechinsights@manomay.biz

Biz Tech Insights Team Manomay

Disclaimer: The views and findings expressed in this material are for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended as a guideline, recommendation, or substitute for any form of Professional (Consulting or Technology) advice. Under no circumstance shall we bear legal responsibility for using or relying on any information mentioned in this article. Unless otherwise specified, the views, case studies, and findings expressed herein are our own. The content displayed here is the Intellectual Property of Manomay Consultancy Services (India) Pvt Ltd. You may not reuse, republish or reprint any of the aforementioned content without our written consent.

 

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