Thursday, 12 April 2012

Thinking - Hanging it all together

I am in the throes of a number of projects and conversations amongst other things, and realised that I am continuously hanging things together, to come up with interesting idea's, solutions or philosophies.  I've been doing it for years.

With this in mind I thought I would put 5 Why's to some good use and capture my thoughts for later reference. (Especially as I've posted nothing here for years)

Here is an example of what I am talking about. Having read the book 'Making the impossible possible' the story of cleaning up America's most dangerous Nuclear weapons power plant sometime ago. Observing the continuing trend towards outsourcing. The advent of the marketing term 'Cloud' and what it really means.  

As well as talking to peers in the industry and challenging the idea that Cloud and Mobile are technologies in themselves but representative of changes in business operating models and philosophies.  I've come to the conclusion that wholesale divestiture of IT Groups will occur during my career.

What do I mean by 'Wholesale Divestiture of IT', much like the clean up of the nuclear weapons factory mentioned above, there will be a company or government, that at one time decides IT is too hard, too costly and too prohibitive, and not a core skill of the organisation.  Therefore lets clean the mess up and move to a wholesale service provision model.

Interestingly this is a great topic to consider, just what and how can one organisation position themselves to take advantage of this.  What does this mean for the traditional IT organisations when it occurs etc.  Note this is not intended to be the point of this post.

The point I am trying to get to here is that it was a series, no a breadth of reading, research and experiences that drove me to this conclusion. Something that I and many others do on a continuous basis.  Managers and Team leaders in particular do this.  There individual challenge though is to translate this thinking to action.

That is over the span of any given day a manager or executive can attend a multitude of meetings.  In fact so many meetings that the moment they are free their nose is immediately pointed at a PDA to see where the next meeting is, to scan emails etc. (Really where do they get the time to think - something else to write about)

Through-out this day they have to be able to pick up grains of ideas and insights intuitively and integrate/sythensize these elements into a holistic view.  They then need to take this perspective, package it into a picture that makes sense and inspires those they lead.

All, in truth, quite a challenge, and in someways an absolute mandatory activity that is more often than not seen as a luxury in this time-poor environment. This is in fact a strategic necessity that many people and organisations miss.

This of course then causes a downward spiral for organisations.  If space is not created for the synthesis, communication and inspiration of ideas or strategies we all become a little short sighted, at an individual, team and organisation level.  As an example, I recently had a client respond to one of my suggestions 'That's 9 months away, that's strategic it is out of our scope'.

Really, since when did the strategic Horizon shorten to 9 months? 

All sorts of things are causing and exacerbating this, everything from the current economoic climate through to the amount of information coming at us every day. Add to this our own personal practices and styles, how are we to ever adapt and change? Or are we all going to become mice on the proverbial wheel.

Think about it! If you've got the time, If you don't have the time i'd encourage you to make the time.  Make some space to stop and think, get it out of your head and start communicating it to others.

Here's what came to gether to make the above post - Global winds churn waters of executive poolCreative and strategic thinking - the coming competencies   8 tips for time poor executives   and of course a number of things from Endurance IT/5Why's that are definitely helpfull for this situation 


  1. Yes, it is ironical that Technology itself can create the wholesale divesture of IT! But as you say, this is more about the rapidly evolving / changing business models. But...the word that resonated most with me was "inspiration" (para 11). What you're saying is that rapidly changing paradigms is placing a lot of pressure on short term results, at the expense of strategy execution. You know, the thing that contains the vision, and hopefully the inspiration for the "why" we are doing what we do. So, a BIG must for leaders, and managers,and well all of us really, is to continue to check in on the "inspiration" dimension, and lets not divest that.

  2. Short-termism is a Problem in every industry. It’s a complex beast and not one that I am able to solve.
    In regards to the outsourcing of IT. It was an increasingly popular idea in the 2000’s, however in recent years I have noticed a shift in this thinking. Organisations are now much more appreciative of the flexibility of having an inhouse IT department. This is not always 100% of the IT but a mixture of both. Particularly application development, as with my experience ‘the business’ does not like off the shelf products.
    The cloud is a concept that has not come into my organisation as much as it should We are currently working through how this will impact on what we do.

    The Problem Manager

  3. Have to be honest, it's sometimes interesting to come back and re-read something you've written in the past.