As the Vice President of Digital Solutions at Sutherland, Jeff Mortlock has to operate both vertically and horizontally, with everyone looking to him for guidance as the digital era truly asserts itself.
A veteran of the company, which he joined in 1997, Mortlock says he’s seen Sutherland go through dramatic transformation many times. Today, he believes that, “we’re at the edge of another one. The digital world is beginning to change the fundamentals of what our previous business has been.” “And,” he goes on to add, “our clients are scared.”
Fear, as we all know and have likely experienced, can push people in one of two directions. It can be the most inhibiting emotion but it can also pump out adrenalin and fire things up.
According to Mortlock maybe five percent of C-level executives are in the adrenalin-fueled category. They’re already onboard and working with companies like Sutherland to prepare for the full impact of the digital revolution. The rest, he says, are either plain terrified or blissfully unaware of what’s about to hit them.
This observation speaks volumes about the crisis of leadership in Corporate America but it also lays down a challenge for the leadership of companies like Sutherland, whose very business is about addressing what others fear or don’t even know about!
Mortlock is refreshingly honest when addressing this issue, “I’m concerned and worried that we can shepherd the client through that experience and have it seem continuous, effective, and efficient. How do you become a Solution Sherpa and take a customer through all these pieces? Who does that?”
Well, Jeff Mortlock for one, and his colleagues across Sutherland Global and its subsidiaries. There will be missteps, as Mortlock acknowledges, but he believes that failure is a key component of learning, especially in such a fast-changing professional landscape. As he puts it, “It’s going to happen all the time and what you do next week is going to be completely different from what you did before, and it’s just going to keep moving. That, to me, has significant implications on our leadership.”
How leaders in the C-suite react will not only impact their own companies but also their employees and customers. Mortlock’s frank assessment of the situation suggests now is the time to start heading in the right direction.