Digital Technology in Leadership


As digital technologies continue to advance, leaders are striving to keep up. The influences of the digital era are felt in everything from day-to-day usage to broader impacts on government functions. Assistant Chief Jeff Sass of the Washington State Patrol (WSP) believes that by having a better understanding of evolving digital transformation, he can be a more effective leader. 

After previously completing two Harvard Kennedy School executive education programs, Driving Government Performance and Leadership in Crises, Assistant Chief Sass opted to return for Digital Transformation in Government.

“I was hoping to gain a better understanding of the issues in the digital world,” shared Assistant Chief Sass. “So I can be a better executive and work with the IT group, instead of having constant frustrations about not seeing any progress made in programs.”

With over 20 years of experience on the WSP, Assistant Chief Sass oversees the Field Operations Bureau, which includes traffic law enforcement, collision investigation, and motorist assists on nearly 18,000 lane miles of state and interstate highways. While none of his duties are technology specific, all are affected by the rushing changes of the digital age. With the course learnings, Assistant Chief Sass returned to work and felt he could better participate in the conversations in the agency and help create understanding. One lesson applied immediately was the distinction between IT and digital employees, which helped foster improved teamwork. 

“Being in Digital Transformation in Government was a fantastic experience and I also learned a lot from fellow participants who were leaders from around the world dealing with the same issues that I was from my little corner of the United States,” shared Assistant Chief Sass. “There was a lot of discontent in the agency three years ago when I was promoted into this position but we’re in very good place now. I believe the communications with our troopers and the entire agency is better now than ever.”

Assistant Chief Sass’s Executive Education three completed courses qualified him to receive a Public Leadership Executive Certificate. The certificate is a formal recognition of advanced studies and represents the recipient’s commitment to the continuous learning required of today’s effective leaders.