With disruption accelerating across every industry, IT leaders are pressed constantly by the question: How can we leverage emerging technologies to ensure our organization thrives in the years ahead?\n\nCIO.com\u2019s Maryfran Johnson sat down with John Marcante, global CIO and managing director at Vanguard, to discuss just that.\n\nA 28-year veteran of the investment management firm, Marcante has held executive roles across many of Vanguard\u2019s businesses, including its high net worth business, asset management, and financial advice, giving him a unique, cross-functional perspective on organizational innovation, which he brings to bear on his role as a member of Vanguard\u2019s Innovation Board and as a founding member of its Innovation Studio.\n\nFollowing are edited excerpts of Marcante\u2019s conversation with Johnson on how to help your organization think like a startup as part of CIO.com\u2019s Leadership Live series. Watch the full video of Marcante\u2019s interview below.\n\nOn business and technology becoming deeply integrated:\n\nMarcante: Today, technology and corporate strategy are really interwoven. They\u2019re the same. I mean technology is the disrupter of our time. Technology leaders have to be passionate about the business and business leaders have to be passionate about technology and understand what technology can enable. For years, you had boards and senior teams not really talking API, the API economy, cloud, microservices. That\u2019s just not true today, which is incredible.\n\nOn establishing a startup mentality at Vanguard:\n\nMarcante: I remember a time where Bill McNabb was our Chairman. I was reporting to Bill and so was [current Vanguard Chairman] Tim Buckley as the chief investment officer. And Bill, I don\u2019t know, I mean this must have been almost a decade ago, ended up taking us all offsite ... to the West Coast. We spent time with venture capitalists, we spent time with startups, and we spent time with people in leading tech companies. And one of the things back then that we were enamored with, which was how people worked, and the speed by which they were getting things done.\n\nWe came back after that and we were convinced that we needed to adopt and really go through what we now call, all of us in the industry, digital transformation. We needed to adopt agile, we needed to adopt cloud computing, we needed to empower \u2014 not just the technical pieces, we needed to empower cross-functional teams, we needed to move from project orientation to product and journey orientation. And then that kind of accelerated for us when we implemented lean in our largest retail operations group, which we had this tremendous impact on productivity. But I think more importantly, more important than productivity, [was the] huge impact both the agile and lean movement [had] at Vanguard early on, on employee engagement.\n\nToday, that\u2019s an agenda across the company. It\u2019s something we call \u2018new ways of working,\u2019 and if you went anywhere today, if you went to marketing, marketing is now organized in agile pods and focused on outcomes.\n\nOn innovating with a \u2018greenfield approach\u2019:\n\nMarcante: I\u2019m often on panels or calls with other CIOs. And inevitably, the conversation goes to -- well, how do you build the case? ... How do you build the case for AI? How do you build the case for cloud computing? ... I really believe that the role of technology is to integrate and deliver the strategy of the company. The company has a mission and a strategy. And technology\u2019s mission isn\u2019t any different other than it is the key enabler of that.\n\nSo ... the place to start [in building the case] is in a greenfield opportunity. Can you build something that\u2019s really important to the business, and you can build it in a way that\u2019s cloud native, and you can take advantage of all the things that come with cloud native technologies. But you\u2019re delivering on a key piece for the business. Let them feel it. And once they feel it, you don\u2019t need to make the case. The case gets accelerated for you. ... No CFO, CEO, CIO will give up the benefit of actually seeing something live and seeing how fast you can react to clients, how fast you can make change, how much you scale and how cheap it actually is to launch in a new market once you do it correctly.\n\nOn inducing cultural change:\n\nMarcante: The worst thing you want to do is have an idea and then go Big Bang. The reality is Big Bang doesn\u2019t work. You need to iterate your way. No CEO, CIO can say, \u2018We\u2019ll be agile in six months.\u2019 ... That\u2019s top down. It doesn\u2019t work. What works is people actually believing it and then let the people who go through the change tell the story. It\u2019s more powerful for someone who\u2019s gone through the change than me to tell their story, for them to say, \u2018This is what my world was like before this and this is what my world looks like now.\u2019\n\nOn what differentiates phenomenal leaders from good leaders:\n\nMarcante: The reality is there are two competencies. One is humility. ... If you\u2019re going to be a good leader, you need to know you don\u2019t know everything. That the good part of this is about listening and putting together teams and allowing the front lines to make the decisions that they\u2019re closest to and trusting people along the way. So that\u2019s one.\n\nThe second one, which I love, is grit. Because yeah, you can get knocked off your horse many times, and if you\u2019re in IT or you\u2019re a CIO or you\u2019re a developer, you know this. That we fail a lot and we fall down a lot, and we get back up and get back up and get back up.\u00a0\n\nOn the value of rotating from technology to business leadership roles and then back:\u00a0\n\nMarcante: Now, rotations, you can bring a lot of things back. I\u2019ll tell you now that if you can convince your organization around rotations, especially for technology individuals to get out of technology into the business or business individuals to get into technology, it gives you a broader view. Where else besides technology and corporate strategy, actually, and in the business, do you get to see this broad view for a global experience? Or meeting with clients face to face. Do you really want to get feedback? This is phenomenal. Go out and go on sales calls, go on prospect calls, go on client calls. Those things matter. P&L, management matters, and good general management and operations matter.\n\nSo I think the biggest thing that I took back ... was empathy and an ability to see both sides of the same coin.