Thodey’s warning on digital disruption

Company directors must spend time thinking about the impact of digital disruption on their business, or risk falling behind their competitors.

This is the stark warning delivered by David Thodey MAICD, CEO at Telstra at a recent Australian Institute of Company Directors’ lunch in Sydney.

Discussing the impact of digital disruption on business, Thodey urged directors and to immerse themselves in unfamiliar territory, or face missing the opportunity to evolve.

“You have to understand what these disruptors could mean for your business; you have to think it through. If you don’t spend time thinking about it, then you will be disrupted,” he warned.

“To do this it is critical to expose yourself to new things, even those that you don’t understand. Yes, it is a little bit confrontational, but you have to put yourself out there and expose yourself to that stuff, otherwise something will pass you by,” he said.

Thodey also stressed the importance of company culture and employing people who challenge the status quo, as they will help to reinvent the business.

“It is too easy to conform in life especially in large companies, because you just keep your head down. And yet what you really need is people who challenge you, otherwise you will not become the company that you want to become,” he said.

“Reinvention is a term that you have to think about all the time; I think about reinventing everything at Telstra. There is not one organisation, whether not-for-profit, education, healthcare or government, who is not going to be impacted by technology innovation in the future.

“Everything that can be digitised will be digitised and the speed at which this happens is only going to get faster,” he said.