I wish I had a skill I could fall back on.
My currently capabilities include semi-delusional yet oddly convincing hand waving, whiteboard-visualizing complexity, and witful blogging. Sure, it’s got me this far, but how long could that last?
No, I need some more “marketable” skills. Something that will propel me into the big leagues. Skills like:
- Being that guy at dinner who enlightens the table that Ribs and Chicken are the two foods that are socially acceptable to eat with your hands
- Being the perfect weight for the height I want to be
- Not being so spiteful about the past poor service from an airline that I would be willing to go into their lounge instead of waiting by the gate and “paying” for breakfast
- Choosing to use my house for more than a very large very expensive charging station for the hundreds of electronic devices in my family’s possession
- Not letting anyone get a coffee at the office without asking each “do you have to go to the bathroom first?”
Alas, those goals might be too lofty…bordering on super powers. I’m not sure I could handle that much self-actualized awesomeness.
Maybe I should concentrate on abilities I could possibly obtain…something that has a less broad impact on human life. Maybe new capabilities that other technology executives might focus on creating this year:
- Be able to articulate how the business makes money versus how the business spends money: spending is easy, in fact most of your role is likely the “spend” part. In contrast, how many ways does the company make money and what external factors impact each of those streams? Who controls those external factors and how does the company participate in the broader ecosystem of their marketplace? The new found context should help focus the IT strategy by articulating the impact of business “levers and dials” directing the IT budget. At the very least it will provide context to the “I need that new product today!” email from the head of the line of business.
- Be able to articulate where very large technology organizations are spending massive R&D money: Very large technology companies are very large based on their ability to invest in technology clients actually buy…and buy a lot. R&D is the implementation of longer term investment *based on* ongoing market research of thousands of clients and prospects, evaluating competition to win, and dreaming big. They have done the research, they are developing with significantly more people and money than you could allocate based on that research, and they plan on solving everyone’s problems with that developed solution…so why I am not spending most of my waking hours with them to develop my list of technology trends?
- Be able to articulate why the nexus or connection between the technology trends (Social, Mobile, Internet of Things, Information, and Cloud) are more important to understand than the individual trend itself: While its fundamental that your team understands how to implement solutions for the business that incorporate a “mobile-first” user interaction, the level of importance is insignificant compared to appreciating the impact of the additional volume and variety of data you are creating/storing/managing based on that new interaction. The nexus between multiple Mobile solutions and your Information management eco system becomes the centre piece of technology strategy. Its where the complexity, risk, value and success lives.
- Be able to recognize that only by NOT managing the smart people, will the innovation truly happen: We as leaders tend to use a very broad brush when painting a people strategy, or placing individuals in financial bands or consumable PowerPoint buckets and forget that the smart people, the innovators, don’t work well in a box. These people need time to think, time to wonder, time to read, time to talk to interesting people and see interesting products. And when that time is over, they single handily design the internet.
Fair enough, that seems like a reasonable list....at least ones I would be willing to reduce my hand waving to learn.
Out of spite though, I’m still not boarding first.