Christine Cole is a leader, a food lover and a connector of people. She’s also the Director and Product Suite Owner, Digital Workplace at Allstate Insurance Company of Canada.
We sat down with her to discuss her approach to leadership, the hybrid career space between business and technology and what she recommends for people starting out in technology.
How do you keep your team moving forward in a large and complex company?
I really want to empower people to make their own decisions, to try answering questions first themselves before asking for the answer, take risks, be brave and know that they are trusted if something didn’t go they way they thought it would. I want them to understand that they have all the tools that they need. Sometimes they just need me to remind them of what they’re capable of.
Collaboration is vital for the successful implementation of technology projects. How do you ensure different teams are on the same page?
I’m a connector of people. I play in that gray space between technology and businesses. I connect business people with technology and technology with users, and that’s a really great space to play in. I’m a lefty. I’m from a small town. I’m kind of an anomaly. I think a little differently. And that has allowed me to play really well in the hybrid space.
How do you inspire your team to make the changes necessary to support digital transformation?
What inspires me? Being around really smart people. Being around people who are naturally curious and have an innovative thinking style, who bring new ideas and a different way of thinking. I love it because it changes our business culture and it gets us to think differently and it takes us in new directions.
I’m sure all your projects run smoothly, but how do you deal with the times when things don’t go to plan?
Failure really is not failure; it’s learning. It’s about how to take those learnings and adjust going forward, but also to realize that you can’t always do things perfectly. Embrace how to do something well enough to get it done and realize that sometimes just getting it done is the outcome that you need.
What advice would you give to someone just starting their career?
Trust your instincts. Be brave and take chances. There are times when no one wants to own something. It might not be glamorous, it might not be a project that seems all that fantastic, but if you have a chance to own something, it can work to your advantage. When people see that you care about what you do and you want to own something, they want you to take it and run with it. So, go for it. Be amazed where it leads you.
What do you think the future holds for service businesses, and how will technology enable it?
I am super excited about automation and artificial intelligence. I cannot wait to see how we leverage that to provide customers with efficient service, the information that they need as quickly as possible, and even allow them to be self-serving. And to allow our employees to do more complex and rewarding work. I think that’s really exciting.
This Q&A is part of a new customer spotlight series. For more information on customer successes and our loyalty program, visit the Elite website.