Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
A while back I put together a comprehensive collection of love quotes. It’s a combination of the wisdom of the ages + modern sages. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I gave it a good revamp. Here it is:
The Great Love Quotes Collection
It's a serious collection of love quotes and includes lessons from the likes of Lucille Ball, Shakespeare, Socrates, and even The Princess Bride.
I organized the quotes into a set of buckets: Beauty Broken Hearts and Loss Falling in Love Fear and Love Fun and Love Kissing Love and Life Significance and Meaning The Power of Love True Love
I think there’s a little something for everyone among the various buckets. If you walk away with three new quotes that make you feel a little lighter, put a little skip in your step, or help you see love in a new light, then mission accomplished.
If you think of love like warmth and connection, you can create more micro-moments of love in your life.
This might not seem like a big deal, but if you knew all the benefits for your heart, brain, bodily processes, and even your life span, you might think twice.
You might be surprised by how much your career can be limited if you don’t balance connection with conviction. It’s not uncommon to hear a lot of turning points in the careers of developers, program managers, IT leaders, and business leaders that changed their game, when they changed their heart.
In fact, on one of the teams I was on, the original mantra was “business before technology”, but people in the halls started to say, “people before business, business before technology” to remind people of what makes business go round.
When people treat each other better, work and life get better.
Here are a few of my favorite love quotes from the collection …
“Love is like heaven, but it can hurt like hell.” – Unknown
“Love is not a feeling, it’s an ability.” — Dan in Real Life
“There is a place you can touch a woman that will drive her crazy. Her heart.” — Milk Money
“Hearts will be practical only when they are made unbreakable.” – The Wizard of Oz
“Things are beautiful if you love them.” – Jean Anouilh
“Life is messy. Love is messier.” – Catch and Release
“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.” – Unknown
For many more quotes, explore The Great Love Quotes Collection.
Happiness Quotes Revamped
My Story of Personal Transformation
The Great Leadership Quotes Collection Revamped
The Great Personal Development Quotes Collection Revamped
The Great Productivity Quotes Collection
A while back I put together a comprehensive collection of personal productivity quotes. It’s a combination of the wisdom of the ages + modern sages. It was time for a revamp. Here it is:
It's a serious collection of personal productivity quotes and includes lessons from the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Bruce Lee, Peter Drucker, Tony Robbins Voltaire, and more.
My favorite definition is a simple formula from Steve Pavlina:
Productivity = Value / Time
I like the formula because of it’s simplicity and because of the insight it provides. If you want to increase your productivity, then you can increase the value or reduce the time it takes, or both.
One of the things I remind my colleagues in the halls of Microsoft is that value is the ultimate short-cut. If you know what’s valued, you can eliminate or reduce all the waste in between.
To organize the productivity quotes, I use a simple frame of productivity Hot Spots:
Action, Approach, Efficiency / Effectiveness, Energy Management, Failure, Focus, Goals, Improvement, Motivation and Mindset, Planning, Opportunity, Self-Awareness, and Time Management.
I find these buckets are useful for organizing principles, patterns, practices, and even quotes. There are a lot of productivity quotes, so using this frame helps group the quotes into more manageable themes.
It sounds so simple when I say it now, but it took me a while to figure out the ultimate formula for personal productivity. Here’s the formula:
Work on the right things, at the right time, the right way, with the right energy.
In other words, start with the right things. Trim your tree of opportunity and focus on the right branches and leaves that will bear the most fruit. Work on these things at the right time. It’s easy to miss windows of opportunity and time changes what’s valued. We also have better times in the day to work on things than others. Work on things the right way. This is really about using better techniques. If have the wrong technique, then throwing hours and effort at something will just waste your time. Lastly, work on things with the right energy. Your energy is your force multiplier since you won’t get more time in the day.
A simple way to think of the way to optimize your productivity is to use your best energy for your best results.
I share a simple system and a comprehensive set of proven practices for personal productivity in my book, Getting Results the Agile Way. (It’s been a best seller in time management, and it helps you master productivity, time management, and work-life balance.)
Believe it or not, quotes are not just neat and fun little sayings. The right quotes are actually pithy ways to share strategies and insights. They can completely change your game.
Here are a handful of some of the strategies that I’ve learned for improving productivity and many of these strategies are echoed in The Great Productivity Quotes Collection:
Less is more.
Focus on quality.
Quotas and quantity can help you achieve quality. (If you learn from your process and apply it.)
Value is in the eye of the beholder and the stakeholder.
Find better techniques to multiply your results.
Enjoy the process.
Spend more time in your strengths, and less time in your weaknesses.
Pair up to amplify your talents and capabilities.
Focus on continuous improvement.
Manage your energy, not time.
Reduce the time you spend and you’ll innovate in your process.
Use timeboxing to invest time more intelligently. (Set limits and boundaries so you don’t over-spend in the wrong areas of your life.)
Work smarter, not harder.
Change your approach when it’s not working.
Test your results.
There are many ways to think about productivity. I like to think of productivity as power. I think of power as the ability to take action. When you exercise your ability to take action and concentrate your effort and your focus, you can make amazing things happen in work and life.
Productivity is a powerful tool in your toolbox for personal empowerment.
As with anything, make sure you use the right tool for the job. And that’s why I continue to fill my toolbox with several tools. Otherwise, if all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.
“Knowing others is intelligence. Knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” -- Lao Tzu
A while back I put together a comprehensive collection of personal development quotes. It’s a combination of the wisdom of the ages + modern sages. It was time for a revamp. Here it is:
The Great Personal Development Quotes Collection
It's a serious collection of personal development quotes and includes lessons from the likes of Buddha, Covey, Emerson, Gandhi, Robbins, Ziglar, and more.
Personal development is a process for life where you improve your awareness, your skills, your abilities, and your potential. Personal development shapes your growth by developing your strengths, reducing your liabilities, and expanding what you’re capable of.
You improve your potential through self-awareness, habits, practice, and feedback.
A big part of personal development is simply awareness. For example, when you know your Myers & Briggs Personality Type, you gain insight into whether you outwardly or inwardly focused, how you prefer to take in information, how you prefer to make decisions, and how you prefer to live your outer life.
Aside from better understanding your own patterns, you can also use it to understand other people’s behavior preferences, and you can adapt your style. If you see somebody staring blankly at you during your presentation, it doesn’t mean they aren’t engaged. They might just be an introvert processing the information in their own quiet way.
If you know your Conflict Style, you can tailor and adapt it to the situation, as well as better understand the mode that others are operating in.
There are many models and tools for self-awareness, but the goal is the same: learn how to be more effective in more situations based on your individual strengths, abilities, and experience.
Personal development is a verb. You need to take action. All the knowledge in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t apply it. Even thoughts are habits that we haven’t learned how to measure. When you apply what you learn, you can adjust what you learn based on feedback and results.
If you keep in mind that personal development is about continuously improving your thinking, feeling, and doing, then it’s easier to stay focused and to evaluate your results.
You can also approach personal development in a number of ways. Just like martial arts, there are hard-styles and there are soft-styles. In my experience, it helps to balance and blend hard-core skill building along with building the soft skills, especially interpersonal skills and your emotional intelligence.
If you want to grow, you have to believe you can.
If you adopt a Growth Mindset, you can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area of work and life.
In the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, author Carol Dweck shares a lot of science and stories around how our mindset limits or enables our growth. If we believe that our abilities are fixed traits, and that we are either good or bad at something, then we have a Fixed Mindset.
If, on the other hand, you believe that you can get better through skills development, then you have a Growth Mindset.
If you’ve ever been in any sort of elite training, or specialized skills development or had a great mentor that provides deep feedback, it should be more than obvious to you how much growth and greatness is possible.
So if you have a Growth Mindset, and you practice personal development, and you develop your self-awareness, then what will hold you back?
Simple. The inability or lack of willingness for you to change your approach.
Darwin taught us that nature favors the flexible and Einstein said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.
And yet, how many people get stuck in a rut or hold themselves back through limiting thought patterns or behaviors?
One of the greatest things you can possible do for your future success is to learn how to change your approach with skill.
I could say so much more about personal development but at this point, I’d rather share what some of the greatest giants in personal development have had to say.
Use The Great Personal Development Quotes Collection to stand on the shoulders of giants, and see further, as you look inward and upward.
And if you want a jumpstart in agile personal development, check out my best-selling book on productivity: Getting Results the Agile Way. It’s a simple system for meaningful results, and it’s a way to use personal development to think better, feel better, and do better in all areas of your life.
A while back I put together a comprehensive collection of leadership quotes. It’s a combination of the wisdom of the ages + modern sages. It was time for a revamp. Here it is:
The Great Leadership Quotes Collection
It's a serious collection of leadership quotes and includes lessons from the likes of John Maxwell, Jim Rohn, Lao Tzu, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and more.
John Maxwell said it best when he defined leadership as influence. Tom Peters added a powerful twist to leadership when he said that leadership is not about creating followers—it’s about creating more leaders.
I like to think of leadership in terms of incremental spheres of influence starting with personal or self-leadership, followed by team leadership, followed by organizational leadership, etc. Effectively, you can expand your sphere of influence, but none of it really works, if you can’t lead yourself first.
I also like to think about the various aspects of leadership, such as Courage, Challenges, Character, Communication, Connection, Conviction, Credibility, Encouragement, Failure, Fear, Heart, Influence, Inspiration, Learning, Self-Leadership, Servant-Leadership, Teamwork, and Vision. As such, I’ve used these categories to help put the leadership quotes into a meaningful collection with simple themes.
I’ve also included special sections on What is Leadership, Leadership Defined, and Leading by Example.
While I haven’t counted the leadership quotes, there are a lot. But they are well-organized and easy to scan. You’ll notice how the names of famous people that said the leadership quote will pop out at you. I bolded the names for extra impact and to help you quickly jump to interesting people, to see what they have to say about the art and science of leadership.
I bet you can find at least three leadership quotes that you can use on a daily basis to think a little better, feel a little better, or do a little better.
For those of you that think that leadership is something that other people do, or something that gets done to you, or that leadership is a position, I’ll share the words of John Maxwell on this topic:
“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” — John Maxwell
In fact, if you’ve never seen it before or need a quick reminder that everyone is a leader, this is a great video that makes the point hit home:
Everyone is a Leader
It’s one of those cool, simple, cartoon videos that shows how leadership is everyone’s job and that without that philosophy, people, systems, organizations, etc. all fail.
The world moves too fast and things change too much to wait for somebody at the top to tell you what to do. The closer you are to where the action is, the more context you have, and the more insight you can use to make better decisions and get better results.
Leadership is a body of principles, patterns, and practices that you can use to empower yourself, and others, with skill.
Just like a Jedi, your force gets stronger the more you use it.
But always remember the surprise about leadership – the more you give your power away, the more power that comes back to you.
It’s not Karma. It’s caring. And it’s contagious.
(As Brian Tracy would say, the three C’s of leadership are Consideration,Caring,and Courtesy.)
Well, maybe it is like Karma in that what goes around, comes around, and leadership amplifies when you share it with people and help everyone become all that they are capable of.
Stand strong when tested, and lead yourself from the inside out.
347 Personal Effectiveness Articles to Help You Change Your Game
Habits, Dreams, and Goals
Interview with The Entrepreneur’s Library on Getting Results the Agile Way
I've completely overhauled my collection of happiness quotes. It was time for a revamp. Hear what Charlie Brown, Dale Carnegie, Aristotle, Confucius, and more have to say about the art and skill of happiness.
Here is the new collection of happiness quotes fresh from the press:
Happiness Quotes (Sources of Insight)
It should be a lot easier to read and a lot easier to use. And it’s exhaustive, so you’ll most likely find at lead a few quotes you’ve never heard before. While I have some general quotes on happiness, I also organized my happiness quotes collection into key themes: What is Happiness, Skilled Happiness, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Well, life happens. And life has it’s ups and downs, whether you’re an executive, an IT leader, a Program Manager, a developer, or you name it.
As the world changes faster around us, our thoughts shape our work and life.
When people aren’t happy, they don’t work well. You can argue it’s the job, but a study in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology showed that it’s the other way around:
Happiness leads to job satisfaction.
They found that the causal relationship between subjective-well being to job satisfaction was stronger than the causal relationship from job satisfaction to subjective well-being.
It helps explain why one person’s treasure is another’s trash.
If you arm yourself with a great set of happiness quotes, you’ll find ways think better. Some of the quotes are actually profound wisdom distilled into a sentence. Some are just entertaining.
Sometimes it just helps to validate your thinking. For example, are you worried that every time you start to feel happy that something will go wrong? You are not alone. Charlie Brown feels the same way:
"I think I’m afraid to be happy, because whenever I get too happy, something bad always happens." – Charlie Brown
I think you’ll find a great deal of wisdom within the quotes and they will help you find your own personal HOW of happiness. While happiness can be a team sport, it’s really an individual skill that you learn to master over a lifetime. While you may not end up as a shiny, happy Pollyanna, you can find ways to raise your frustration tolerance, enjoy more of your moments, and bounce back faster when life throws you the proverbial curve ball.
While some might say that the secret of happiness is finding your one thing, I think it’s more than that. As a mentor at Microsoft, I coach a lot of individuals on personal effectiveness, and a big part of it, is figuring out how to do what makes you come alive.
But there’s actually more to the story.
The ultimate way to find your happiness is to treat happiness like a verb, right here and right now, and find ways to spend more time in your values, while in the service of others or some greater good. And, as Zig Ziglar would say, “Enjoy the price of success.”
And, that my friends is deep happiness.
What is Agile Results all about? What are the most important keys to using Agile Results to master productivity, time management, and work-life balance?
If you've ever wondered what Getting Results the Agile Way is all about, or want to know how to make the most of the book, this is it. I answer these questions and more in my interview with The Entrepreneur's Library on Getting Results the Agile Way:
Interview with The Entrepreneur's Library on Agile Results
In this interview, Wade Danielson, the creator of The Entrepreneur’s Library, asks me the following questions:
Wade also gives me a chance to give a walkthrough of the book, Getting Results the Agile Way, where I explain how to make the most of the book, and what each section is really about.
It’s a unique chance to get the philosophy behind Agile Results and why it’s really a personal results system for work and life. It’s not a system that you break yourself against. Instead, it’s a simple system for meaningful results that supports you and the way you work. It helps you optimize your productivity by focusing on the wins that matter, playing to your strengths, and using your best energy for your best results.
An amazing thing happens when you become more focused and productive …
You get more out of life.
And you can get more done in a day than other people get done all week.
Bandita is one of the most amazing leaders in the technology arena.
She’s not just technical, but she also has business skills, and executive presence.
But she didn’t start out that way.
She had to learn presence from the school of hard knocks. Many people think presence is something that either you have or you don’t.
Bandita proves otherwise.
Here is a guest post by Bandita Joarder on how presence is something you can learn:
Presence is Something You Can Learn
It’s a personal story. It’s an empowering story. It’s a story of a challenge and a change, and how learning the power of presence, helped Bandita move forward in her career.
I’ve been talking to people in the halls about what they learned about goals from last year, and what they are going to do differently this year. We’ve had chats about New Years Resolutions, habits, goals, and big dreams. (My theme is Dream Big for 2015.)
Here are a few of the insights that I’ve been sharing with people that really seems to create a lot clarity:
Maybe the most important insight is that while you don’t need goals to make your habits effective, it’s really easy to spend a year, and then wonder where the year went, without the meaningful milestones to look back on. That said, I’ve had a few years, where I simply focused on habits without specific goals, but I always had a vision for a better me, or a better future in mind (more like a direction than a destination.)
As I’ve taken friends and colleagues through some of my learnings over the holidays, regarding habits, dreams, and goals, I’ve had a few people say that I should put it all together and share it, since it might help more people add some clarity to setting and achieving their goals.
Here it is:
How Dreams, Goals, and Habits Fit Together
Enjoy, and Dream Big for 2015.
Several Summers back, I used a 30 Day Improvement Sprint to share my best insights and best lessons learned on getting results. I called it 30 Days of Getting Results:
30 Days of Getting Results
It’s timeless advice to help you be YOUR best.
The overall goal of the site was to help you master productivity, master time management, and achieve work life balance. The idea was that by spending a little time each day, you would get back lots of time and energy and produce better results. And we all need an edge in work and life.
Here are the key things that I tried to help you with:
So if you’re struggling with any of the above, you might find just the piece of advice or the one or two ideas that help you find your breakthrough.
Behind the scenes, when I wrote each of the 30 days, I gave myself a 20-minute time limit (a 20-minute timebox for you in the know.) I would then write as if writing to somebody where I only had a small window of time to help them as best I could to achieve better results, in any situation.
It might seem like the first few days start slow, but things pick up from there pretty fast. Also, it’s self-paced so you can hop around to any particular day that you think you need the most.
I’ve had many people tell me that it was the course that they needed that helped them set and achieve better goals, while also helping them make new habits and break bad habits. It’s also helped them find more energy as well as enjoy more of the things that they do. It’s also helped them find ways to spend more time in their strengths and do what makes them come alive.
I will say that the user experience isn’t that great. The site was a test and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on the site design. That said, it’s pretty straightforward. When you go to the home page at 30 Days of Getting Results, you’ll see a brief intro and overview, and then you can dive in from there, by either starting with Day 1: Take a Tour of Agile Results, or by clicking through the 30 Days on the left-hand side of the menu.
Here are all the days at a glance for your convenience:
The course is free. Hopefully that doesn’t de-value it. It has a lot of the lessons you would learn in some of the most advanced productivity and time management training.
The structure of each day is the same. It includes an outcome, a lesson, and an assignment. And right up front, I include a relevant quote and picture. Here is an example of Day 24 – Bounce Back with Skill:
If you want to start off well for 2015, and you have big dreams and big goals in mind, then give 30 Days of Getting Results a try:
If you want to take it slow and steady, then just try one lesson each day. If you’re feeling gung-ho, then see how quickly you can make it through all 30 at your own pace.
To help you stay on track, if you take the slow and steady route, build the habit by adding a simple reminder to your calendar in the morning to go and take the next lesson. Do it Monday through Friday and take the weekends off.
Enjoy and best wishes for your best year ever.
Dream Big for 2015 (my personal theme for 2015)
I did a major cleanup of my post on lessons learned from John Maxwell:
Lessons Learned from John Maxwell
It should be much easier to read now.
It was worth cleaning up because John Maxwell is one of the deepest thinkers in the leadership space. He’s published more than 50 books on leadership and he lives and breathes leadership in business and in life.
When I first started studying leadership long ago, John Maxwell’s definition of leadership was the most precise I found:
“Leadership is influence.”
As I began to dig through his work, I was amazed at the nuggets and gems and words of wisdom that he shared in so many books. I started with Your Road Map for Success. I think my next book was The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Ironically, I didn’t realize it was the same author until I started to notice on my shelf that I had a growing collection of leadership books, all by John Maxwell.
It was like finding the leadership Sherpa.
Sure enough, over the years, he continued to fill the shelves at Barnes & Nobles, with book after book on all the various nooks and crannies of leadership.
This was about the same time that I noticed how Edward de Bono had filled the shelves with books on thinking. I realized that some people really share there life’s work as a rich library that is a timeless gift for the world. I also realized that it really helps people stand out in their field or discipline when they contribute so many guides and guidance to the art and science of whatever their specific focus is.
What I like about John Maxwell’s work is that it’s plain English and down to Earth. He writes in a very conversational way, and you can actually see his own progress throughout his books. In Your Road Map for Success, it’s a great example of how he doesn’t treat leadership as something that comes naturally. He works hard at it, to build his own knowledge base of patterns, practices, ideas, concepts, and inspirational stories.
While he’s created a wealth of wisdom to help advance the practice of leadership, I think perhaps his greatest contribution is The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. It’s truly a work of art, and he does an amazing job of distilling down the principles that serve as the backbone of effective leadership.
Everybody has a story. I thought I would share mine at Sources of Insight:
It’s the story of how I figured out how to do more of what makes me come alive, and how to share my unique value with the world.
It’s a journey, but this story is a look backwards, and how it helped me shape my path forward.
I included some of the key questions I asked, as well as some of the key resources I used to get a new lens on work and life.
Life can really be a game of chutes and ladders, depending on the questions you ask, the choices you make, and the actions you take.
I think one of the biggest challenges we have in life, is a very personal one. It’s the challenge of finding our voice. It’s the challenge of finding our passion, our purpose, and our talents. It’s the challenge of becoming all that we’re capable of. And, it’s the challenge of how to make the most of what we’ve got, while helping others in our unique way.
The other big challenge is avoiding regret, learning to live with regret, or learning how to live without regret. What we regret the most, are the things we have a chance to change. It’s our opportunities lost. Or, to put it another way, we regret the things we didn’t do. That can include things like not being true to ourselves, not expressing our feelings, not staying in touch with friends, or not letting ourselves be happier.
The top regrets in life based on research are: education, career, romance, parenting, self-improvement, leisure, finance, health, friends, spirituality, and community. Education is the top regret because it impacts so many areas of our life, and it’s within our control.
The way I learned to write my story forward is to combine a combination of answering the following questions on an on-gong basis:
Transformation is a journey of challenges and changes. And that’s where our greatest growth comes from.
Best wishes for your best year, ever.
“Another year over, And a new one just begun.” – John Lennon
Ready to get your game on?
January is a great time to focus on what you want out of this year. As you close out last year, you can reflect on what went well and what things you could improve. Focus on the growth.
January is also a great time to build some momentum. January and December are the bookends for your year. It’s interesting how they are both a month apart and a year apart.
What you fill that year with, is your opportunity.
If you’re having a hard time remembering what it means to dream big, I put together a collection of dream big quotes to rekindle your imagination.
I’ve also put together a set of posts to help you create goals with skill:
One of the most helpful things I’ve found with goal setting, is to start with 3 dreams or 3 wins for the year. I learned this while I was putting together Getting Results the Agile Way: A Personal Results System for Work and Life. As my story goes, I got frustrated and bogged down by a heavy goal process and lost in creating SMART goals. I finally stepped back and just asked myself, what are Three Wins or Three Outcomes that I want out of this year? The first things that came to mind were 1) ship my book, 2) get to my fighting weight, and 3) take an epic adventure.
It wasn’t scientific, but it was significant, and it was simple. But most of all, it was empowering.
In retrospect, it seems so obvious now, but what I was missing in my goals was the part that always needs to happen first: Dream big. We need to first put our dreams on the table because that’s where meaningful goals are born from. It’s the dreams that make our goals a force to be reckoned with. Really, goals are just a way to break our dreams down into chunks of change we can deal with, and to help guide us on our journey towards the end in mind. That’s why we have to keep pushing our dreams beyond our limits. That way we don’t try to push ourselves with our goals. Instead, we pull ourselves with our dreams.
If you want to know how to get started with Agile Results, before you get the book, you can use the Agile Results QuickStart guide. You can use it to create your personal results system. It’s a simple system, but a powerful one. Individuals, teams, and leaders use it to bring out their best and to make the mot of what they’ve got.
To give you a quick example, if you want to rise above the noise of your day, just take a quick pause, and write down Three Wins that you want out of today. If you’re day is pretty tough, you might say, “great breakfast, great lunch, great dinner.” We have those days. Or, if you’re feeling pretty good, you might say, “ship feature X” or “clear my backlog” or “finish my presentation” or “win a raving fan”, etc.
It sounds simple but by having Three Wins to hold onto for today, it helps you focus. It helps you prioritize. And it helps you get back on track, when you get off track. It also gives you a quick way to feel good about your achievements at the end of the day, because you can actually name them. They are your private victories.
So, if you want to practice Agile Results, just remember to think in threes: Three Wins for the Day, Three Wins for the Week, Three Wins for the Month, Three Wins for the Year. It will help you funnel and focus your time and energy on meaningful results that matter. And, you’ll build momentum a moment at a time, as you respond to challenges, exercises your choices, and drive your changes in work and in life.
This is a follow up to Santa Lands on a Virgin Atlantic Plane with 4D Technology. It turns out that you can measure the magic in the air.
Here is the page that’s tracking the festive magic:
There’s Magic in the Air
Here is a snapshot of the page:
How are we measuring the festive magic? Using cloud-based Dynamics social analytics software.
Via the There’s Magic in the Air site: ”At Virgin Atlantic we love the festive season and so do lots of our customers.
So this year, we wanted to see how much ‘festive magic’ our customers and employees are creating around the world.
Partnering with our friends at Microsoft, we're using cloud based Dynamics social analytics software to calculate the volume and sentiment of social posts on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. We’re analyzing the posts for positive mentions of keywords like ‘Christmas,’ ‘magic’ and ‘reindeer.’ So we can understand how much of that festive magic is being generated every day until 7January, 2015.
We're doing this in a totally anonymous way, and we're not storing any personal information. We just want to understand how much magic we're collectively creating during this period.”
What a fun and festive way to show software in action, and use technology to light up the holiday season.
Santa Lands on a Virgin Atlantic Plane with 4D Technology
The Microsoft Story
The Mission of Microsoft Enterprise Services
I’ve put together a roundup of the best productivity books that have helped me get better results in work and life. It contains many of the same books that I recommend to people and teams that I mentor. Here is the list:
It has a lot of books. To be productive, it takes a lot of skills, and a lot of self-mastery. And, you never know which book is going to do it for you.
I organize the productivity books in a scenario-based way:
At the end of the list, I included all the books in a simple, flat A-Z list so you can quickly check against your own productivity book collection to see if I have mentioned books that you don’t have or don’t know about.
I’ve put this list of productivity books together to give you an unfair advantage. Competition can be fierce. Remember that the best person to always compete against is you—find ways to be better, faster, or cheaper, when it comes to making things happen. It’s how you stay in the game, and it’s how you change your game.
In fact, productivity is a backbone for surviving and thriving. Yeah, it’s a big deal.
Also, bear in mind that the big idea behind extreme productivity, or effective productivity is to focus on learning and growth. If you have a growth mindset, you’ll win in the long-run, because you’ll get better over time, and you can compound your effort. Also, learn to embrace the effort, and to love the work you do, or love the way you do it.
Your work is the ultimate self-expression, and the legacy you leave behind, can be an inspiration for yourself, as well as for others.
My Productivity Books page will be a living catalog of the books I draw from, and it’s part of my bigger Great Books collection, where I share the world’s best books for insight and action on business, career, leadership, personal development, and more.
I know there are a lot of productivity books on my list. If I can only recommend one, I start people off with Getting Results the Agile Way. I wrote it specifically to help people get better results in work and life with a simple system I developed over time in extreme scenarios. It integrates proven practices for personal productivity, as well as positive psychology, project management, sports science, and more in terms of achieving high-performance with flow. And, it’s easy to get started (Here is the Agile Results QuickStart.)
I believe in the power of books to change lives. Productivity is just one area, but it’s an area that impacts all the other major areas of our life.
If you can master productivity, you can know more, be more, and achieve more.
And, if you balance that with living your values, making an impact, and enjoying the journey, that is the key to living la vida buena.
Microsoft and Virgin help land Santa on top of a plane at 30,000 feet. If you’ve been wondering where Santa’s been, he landed on top of a Virgin Atlantic plane and did a photo shoot with the passengers.
Microsoft teamed up with Richard Branson and Virgin Atlantic to bring the magic of Christmas to life. In the world’s first 4D experience in flight, Santa Claus appears to land on top of a Virgin Atlantic plane at 30,000 feet.
How’s that for some fancy flying with modern technology?!
Each passenger was also given a Windows tablet so they could track Father Christmas and chat with him during the flight.
Here’s the video of Santa landing on top of the plane and visiting with the passengers:
Video: Santa Lands on Top of a Virgin Atlantic Plane at 30,000 Feet
Here are a few scenes that show Santa in action …
Here’s one of Santa’s reindeer peering down into the cabin from on top of the plane:
Here’s Santa peering down into the cabin from above the plane before he goes inside:
Santa sees somebody he recognizes:
Santa boards the plane and walks the cabin:
The kids are excited to see Santa:
Adults are happy, too:
Santa has time for some photo shoots:
Santa leaves to get back to his sleigh on top of the plane:
Virgin Atlantic and Microsoft wish everybody a very, merry Christmas:
Here’s Richard Branson’s post on the story:
Santa Lands on Virgin Atlantic Plane at 30,000 Feet
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
10 Big Ideas from a Christmas Carol
25 Holiday Classic Movies and Lessons Learned
Microsoft Cloud Case Studies at a Glance
I wrote a roundup of the best books I read in 2014.
I read a lot of books, and not all of them are worth sharing. I’m a believer that leaders are readers, and as Bill Gates says, “reading is how I learn best.”
Here are a few of the books that made my list:
For the full list and some quick perspective on each book, you can read my post on the best books I read in 2014.
Sometimes with all the hustle and bustle, it can be tough to find the holiday spirit.
It’s easy to say “Bah!—Humbug!”, but that’s a spiral down.
The key is to find the people and ideas that lift you up and remind you what you’re capable of.
I’ve put together 10 Big Ideas from A Christmas Carol at Sources of Insight.com to help you get your holiday groove on.
Here are the10 big ideas at a glance:
For elaboration, and supporting snippets from A Christmas Carol, check out my full post on 10 Big Ideas from A Christmas Carol. There’s a little smile in there for everyone.
If you take a quick time out in your day, and really step into it, I bet you'll find at least one nugget that helps you feel a little lighter, laugh a little louder, or love a little more.
Either way, remember that the choice is always yours – humbugs and all.
Happy holidays to you and yours.
Here’s a simple visual that I whiteboard when I lead workshops for business transformation.
The Sweet Spot is where customer “demand” meets Microsoft “supply.”
I’m not a fan of product pushers or product pushing. I’m a fan of creating “pull.”
In order for customers to pull-through any product, platform, or service, you need to know the customer’s pains, needs, and desired outcomes. Without customer empathy, you’re not relevant.
This is a simple visual, but a powerful one.
When you have good representation of the voice of the customer, you can really identity problems worth solving. It always comes down to pains, needs, opportunities, and desired outcomes. In short, I always just say pains, needs, and desired outcomes so that people can remember it easily.
To make it real, we use scenarios to tell a simple story of a customer’s pain, needs, and desired outcomes. We use our friends in the field working with customers to give us real stories of real pain.
Here is an example Scenario Narrative where a company is struggling in creating products that its customers care about …
As you can see, the Current State is a pretty good story of pain, that a lot of business leaders and product owners can identify with. For some, it’s all too real, because it is their story and they can see themselves in it.
In the Desired Future State, it’s a pretty good story of what success would look like. It paints a pretty simple picture of what would be an ideal scenario …. a future possibility.
Here is an example of a Solution Storyboard, where we paint a simple picture of that Desired Future State, or more precisely, a Future Capability Vision. It’s this Future Capability Vision that shows how, with the right capabilities, the customer can address their pains, needs, and desired outcomes.
The beauty of this approach is that it’s product and technology agnostic. It’s all about building capabilities.
From there, with a good understanding of the pains, needs, and desired outcomes, it’s super easy to overlay relevant products, technologies, consulting services, etc.
And then, rather than trying to do a product “push”, it becomes a product “pull” because it connects with customers in a very deep, very real, very relevant way.
Think “pull” not “push.”
Drive Business Transformation by Reenvisioning Operations
Drive Business Transformation by Reenvisioning Your Customer Experience
Dual-Speed IT Drives Business Transformation and Improves IT-Business Relationships
How Business Leaders are Building Digital Skills
How To Build a Roadmap for Your Digital Transformation
I’m always of fan of hearing about how Softies change the world, inside and outside of Microsoft.
I was reading Blind Ambition: How to Envision Your Limitless Potential and Achieve the Success You Want by Patricia Walsh. It’s an inspirational story, as well as an insightful read if you are looking for ways to up your game or get the edge in work and life.
I wrote a 10 Big Ideas from Blind Ambition to share some of the highlights from the book.
Walsh is a former Softie. More than that, she has raced in marathons, ultra-marathons and IRONMAN triathlons. In 2011, Walsh set a new world record for blind triathletes, shattering the previous male and female records by over 50 minutes.
She left Microsoft to start her own business, pursuit her speaking career, and train as a world-class athlete.
She set a high-bar.
But she also set a great example. Walsh wanted to help light the way for others to show them that they can be limitless if they set goals, put in the work, and don’t let fear or failures hold them back.
And most importantly, don’t put limits on yourself, and don’t fall into the trap of the limits that others put on you.
I was reading back through Satya Nadella’s email on Bold Ambition and Our Core, and a few things caught my eye.
One of them was the idea that if you want to thrive at Microsoft, you need to drive change.
“And if you want to thrive at Microsoft and make a world impact, you and your team must add numerous more changes to this list that you will be enthusiastic about driving.
Nothing is off the table in how we think about shifting our culture to deliver on this core strategy. Organizations will change. Mergers and acquisitions will occur. Job responsibilities will evolve. New partnerships will be formed. Tired traditions will be questioned. Our priorities will be adjusted. New skills will be built. New ideas will be heard. New hires will be made. Processes will be simplified. And if you want to thrive at Microsoft and make a world impact, you and your team must add numerous more changes to this list that you will be enthusiastic about driving.”
Change is in the air, and Satya has given everyone a license to thrive by re-imagining how to change the world, or at least their part of it.
For me, I’m focused on how to accelerate business transformation with Cloud, Mobile, Social, Big Data and the Internet of Things.
Together, these technology trends are enabling new end-to-end customer experiences, workforce transformation, and operations transformation.
It’s all about unleashing what individuals and businesses are capable of.
Let’s say you want to take your business to the Cloud -- How do you do it?
If you’re a small shop or a startup, it might be easy to just swipe your credit card and get going.
If, on the other hand, you’re a larger business that wants to start your journey to the Cloud, with a lot of investments and people that you need to bring along, you need a roadmap.
The roadmap will help you deal with setbacks, create confidence in the path, and help ensure that you can get from point A to point B (and that you know what point B actually is.) By building an implementable roadmap for your business transformation, you can also build a coalition of the willing to help you get their faster. And you can design your roadmap so that your journey flows continuous business value along the way.
In the book, Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation, George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee, share how top leaders build better roadmaps for their digital business transformation.
If you had infinite time and resources, maybe you could just wing it, and hope for the best. A better approach is to have a roadmap as a baseline. Even if your roadmap changes, at least you can share the path with others in your organization and get them on board to help make it happen.
Via Leading Digital:
“In a perfect world, your digital transformation would deliver an unmatched customer experience, enjoy the industry's most effective operations, and spawn innovative, new business models. There are a myriad of opportunities for digital technology to improve your business and no company can entertain them all at once. The reality of limited resources, limited attention spans, and limited capacity for change with force focused choices. This is the aim of your roadmap.”
Your best starting point is a business capability that you want to exploit.
“Many companies have come to realize that before they can create a wholesale change within their organization, they have to find an entry point that will begin shifting the needle. How? They start by building a roadmap that leverages existing assets and capabilities. Burberry, for example, enjoyed a globally recognized brand and a fleet of flagship retail locations around the world. The company started by revitalizing its brand and customer experience in stores and online. Others, like Codelco, began with the core operational processes of their business. Caesars Entertainment combined strong capabilities in analytics with a culture of customer service to deliver a highly personalized guest experience. There is no single right way to start your digital transformation. What matters is that you find the existing capability--your sweet spot--that will get your company off the starting blocks.
Once your initial focus is clear, you can start designing your transformation roadmap. Which investments and activities are necessary to close the gap to your vision? What is predictable, and what isn't? What is the timing and scheduling of each initiative? What are the dependencies between them? What organizational resources, such as analytics skills, are required?”
If you involve others in your roadmap, you get their buy-in, and they will help you with your business transformation.
“Designing your roadmap will require input from a broad set of stakeholders. Rather than limit the discussion to the top team, engage the operational specialists who bring an on-the-ground perspective. This will minimize the traditional vision-to-execution gap. You can crowd-source the design. Or, you can use facilitated workshops, as as 'digital days,' as an effective way to capture and distill the priorities and information you will need to consider. We've seen several Digital Masters do both.
Make no mistake; designing your roadmap will take time, effort, and multiple iterations. But you will find it a valuable exercise. it forces agreement on priorities and helps align senior management and the people tasked to execute the program. Your roadmap will become more than just a document. If executed well, it can be the canvas of the transformation itself. Because your roadmap is a living document, it will evolve as your implementation progresses.”
When you create your roadmap, focus on the business outcomes. Think in terms of adding incremental business capabilities. Don’t make it a big bang thing. Instead, start small, but iterate on building business capabilities that take advantage of Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Big Data technologies.
“Technology for its own sake is a common trap. Don't build your roadmap as a series of technology projects. Technology is only part of the story in digital transformation and often the least challenging one. For example, the major hurdles for Enterprise 2.0 platforms are not technical. Deploying the platform is relatively straightforward, and today's solutions are mature. The challenge lies in changing user behavior--encouraging adoption and sustaining engagement in the activities the platform is meant to enable.
Express your transformation roadmap in terms of business outcomes. For example, 'Establish a 360-degree understanding of our customers.' Build into your roadmap the many facets of organizational change that your transformation will require customer experiences, operational processes, employee ways of working, organization, culture, communication--the list goes on. This is why contributions from a wide variety is so critical.”
There are lots of way to build a roadmap, but the best thing you can do is put something down on paper so that you can share the path with other people and start getting feedback and buy-in.
You’ll be surprised but when you show business and IT leaders a roadmap, it helps turn strategy into execution and make things real in people’s minds.
10 High-Value Activities in the Enterprise
Cloud Changes the Game from Deployment to Adoption
How To Build a Better Business Case for Digital Initiatives
How To Improve the IT-Business Relationship
How Leaders are Building Digital Skills
Management Innovation is at the Top of the Innovation Stack
Cloud, mobile, social, and big data are changing the game of business.
But to play the game well, leaders need to grow new skills.
In order to create new customer experiences and market-leading operational capabilities, leaders need to invest in digital skills.
Our Cloud-First, Mobile-First world provides unprecedented possibilities in terms of connectivity and compute resources for changing customer experiences, transforming the workforce, and transforming operations, and creating new business models. Companies every day are building amazing solutions that integrate Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Big Data capabilities as well as what the Internet of Things brings to the table. But to take advantage of these capabilities, you need leaders that grow and invest in a digital platform and in digital skills.
In the book, Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation, George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee, share how top leaders grow their digital skills.
Whether you want to reimagine your customer experience, or reimagine your operations, it takes new skills, and new ways of working. Companies that don’t have the right digital skills struggle. Worse, everybody is competing for the same skills, including social media analysts, mobile marketers, cloud architects, and data scientists.
“Creating great customer experiences or market-leading operational capabilities is more than technology challenge. It's also an organizational challenge requiring new skills and new ways of working. Yet, 77 percent of companies in our first year of research cited missing digital skills as a major hurdle to their digital transformation success. To compound the problem, most companies are chasing after similar skills--social media analysts, mobile marketers, cloud architects, or data scientists, to name a few.”
If you want to help your company become a Digital Master, or, if you want to be a high-performing leader, you need to invest in digital skills.
“So what are Digital Masters doing differently when it comes to skills? First, they are investing. Of the Digital Masters we surveyed, 82 percent are building the digital skills they need to support transformation efforts. Only 40 perce3nt of nonmasters are doing so.
Second, Digital Masters are accelerating and creating a gap. Our survey research shows that the masters had greater digital skills than nonmasters, reporting 31 percent higher social media skills, 38 percent higher mobile skills, and 19 percent higher analytics skills.
But Digital Masters did not start with higher skills. Burberry did not become excellent at digital marketing. and channels overnight. CEO Ahrendts hired a new, dynamic marketing team whose members mirrored the behaviors of the millennial customer. Nor did Caesars excel at delivering personalized customer experience solely because its CEO, Gary Loveman, has a PhD in economics from MIT. Caesars' executives actively incorporated quantitative skills into the marketing area. In these companies, like other Digital Masters, top executives worked hard to build the digital skills they needed.”
The gap is huge but the lines blur fast. There is a huge demand for people that are both business savvy and technology savvy.
“The skills difference extends beyond technology. Digital Masters report 36 percent higher skills in digital leadership than nonmasters. Digital transformation requires changes to processes and thinking--changes that span your internal organizational silos. 'The clear delineation between technical skills and leadership skills in blurring fast.
The impact of digital technologies is now felt not only in the IT and technical departments, but also across the entire organization. Digital transformation's need for cross-functional collaboration creates a huge demand for hybrid digital skills-- technical people who need to be more business savvy and businesspeople who need to be more technology savvy. A retail executive explained: 'We are trying for the first time to work across the company. That implies going through a new level of complexity in the organization, and requires people to manage and network differently. That, I think, is the most important skills that needs to be developed.'”
True hybrid professionals will be the leaders of tomorrow.
“The need for new skills can also result from the need to bridge the communication gap between digital and business competences. One executive said, 'I need a charismatic quant--somebody who's an influencer and can carry his weight in a senior meeting, but at the same time, someone who can roll up his sleeves and look at data tables and build models and enjoy it.'
These bridging roles may soon become the responsibility of every manager. 'I believe,' said Markus Nordlin, CIO of Zurich Insurance, 'that the successful leaders of tomorrow, in any business or industry, are going to be true hybrid professionals who have spent some time in IT but have shifted to operations and vice-versa.'”
To keep up and get ahead, you need to master Digital Skills and be able to use them in a business savvy way.
“Aspiring Digital Masters are all chasing the same technical skills. The shortage of digital skills is unprecedented. In Europe alone, forecasts point to nearly a million vacancies for IT-related roles by 2015. And globally, out of the 4.4 million big-data jobs to be created by 2015, only a third will be filled.
But by the same token, business professionals will increasingly need to be comfortable with digital tools and technologies to perform their core roles. By 2015, research firm IDC expects that 90 percent of all jobs will require IT skills. Some business functions are already adding technology skills to their mix. Gartner reports that 70 percent of the companies they surveyed have a chief marketing technologist to support the digitization of the function.
This skills race won't slow down anytime soon. Having the right digital skills is an important source of competitive advantage and a key enabler of digital transformation. Companies that build skills faster will get ahead.
To win at the digital skills race, you will need to tap into multiple approaches--hiring, partnering, incubating, and the like. It's not easy, as one executive explained: 'Our recruiters don't know where to go to find these people, and people with the right skills don't look to our kind of company for opportunities.' HR organization will need to get up to speed quickly. A recent Capgemini Consulting survey found that only 30 percent of HR functions were actively involved in digital skills development. This needs to change. Many Digital Masters have a carefully crafted plan to fight and win the talent race.”
All of the capabilities of Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Big Data are right at your fingertips.
Using these capabilities in meaningful ways takes a combination of business and technical skills, as well as great organizational change leadership skills.
If you can master business skills and combine them with great technical skills, you can lead you, your team, your organization, and others to change the world.
Don’t try to turn all of your traditional IT into a digital unit.
You’ll break both, or do neither well.
Instead, add a Digital Unit. Meanwhile, continue to simplify and optimize your traditional IT, but, at the same time, add a Digital Unit that’s optimized to operate in a Cloud-First, Mobile-First world.
This is the Dual-Speed IT approach, and, with this way, you can choose the right approach for the job and get the best of both worlds.
Some projects involve more extensive planning because they are higher-risk and have more dependencies.
Other projects benefit from a loose learning-by-doing method, with rapid feedback loops, customer impact, and testing new business waters.
And, over time, you can shift the mix.
In the book, Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation, George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee, share some of their lessons learned from companies that are Digital Masters that created their digital visions and are driving business change.
You can grow one of your existing business units into a Digital Unit. For example, marketing is a pretty good bet, given the customer focus and the business impact.
“Changing the IT-business relationship is well worth the effort, but doing so takes time. Your company may not have the time to wait before starting your digital transformation. Rather than improving the IT unit, some companies try to build digital skills into another unit, such as marketing. They try to work around IT rather than with it.”
Don’t throw away your existing IT or break it by turning it into something it’s not, too quickly. Instead, leverage it for the projects where it makes sense, while also leveraging your new Digital IT unit.
“Although building digital skills is useful, trying to work around IT can be fraught with challenges, especially if people do not understand the reasons for IT's systematic, if sometimes ponderous, processes. This kind of flanking action can waste money, make the digital platform more complex, and even worse, open the company to security and regulatory risks.”
You can have the best of both worlds, while both evolving your traditional IT and growing your Digital Unit to thrive at Cloud speed.
“A better approach is to create a dual-speed IT structure, where one part of the IT unit continues to support traditional IT needs, while another takes on the challenge of operating at digital speed with the business. Digital activities--especially in customer engagement--move faster than many traditional IT ones. They look at design processes differently. Where IT projects have traditionally depended on clear designs and well-structured project plans, digital activities often engage in test-and-learn strategies, trying features in real-life experiments and quickly adding or dropping them based on what they find.”
Your Digital Unit needs to be very different from traditional IT in terms of the mindset and the approaches around the people, processes, and technology.
“In a dual-speed approach, the digital unit can develop processes and methods at clock-speeds more closely aligned with the digital world, without losing sight of the reasons that the old IT processes existed. IT leaders can draw on informal relationships within the IT department to get access to legacy systems or make other changes happen. Business leaders can use their networks to get input and resources. Business and IT leaders can even start to work together in the kind of two-in-a-box leadership method that LBG and other companies have adopted.”
To make it work and to make it work well, it takes partnerships on both sides. The business and IT both need skin in the game.
“Building dual-speed IT units requires choosing the right leadership on both sides of the relationship. Business executives need to be comfortable with technology and with being challenged by their IT counterparts. IT leaders need to have a mind-set that extends beyond technology to encompass the processes and drivers of business performance. Leaders from both sides need to be strong communicators who can slide easily between conversations with their business- or IT-focused people.”
With both options at your disposal, Great IT Leaders know how to choose the right approach for the job. Some programs and projects will take a more traditional life-cycle or require heavier planning or more extensive governance and risk management, while other projects can be driven in a more lightweight and agile way.
“Dual-speed IT also requires perspective about the value of speed. Not all digital efforts need the kind of fast-moving, constantly changing processes that digital customer-engagement processes can need. In fact, the underlying technology elements that powered LBG's new platform, Asian Paints' operational excellence, and Nike's digital supply chain enhancements required the careful, systematic thinking that underpins traditional IT practices. Doing these big implementations in a loose learning-by-doing method could be dangerous. It could increase rework, waste money, and introduce security risks. But once the strong digital platform is there, building new digital capabilities can be fast, agile, and innovative. The key is to understand what you need in each type of project and how much room any project has to be flexible and agile. Great IT leaders know how to do this. If teamed with the right business leaders, they can make progress quickly and safely.”
It takes a shift in processes to do Dual-Speed IT.
“Dual-speed IT also takes new processes inside IT. Few digital businesses have the luxury to wait for monthly software release cycles for all of their applications. Digital-image hosting business Flickr, for example, aims for up to ten deployments per day, while some businesses require even more. This continuous-deployment approach requires very tight discipline and collaboration between development, test, and operations people. A bug in software, missed step in testing, or configuration problem in deployment can bring down a web site or affect thousands of customers.”
DevOps blends development and operations into a more integrated approach that simplifies and streamlines processes to shorten cycle times and speed up fixes and feedback loops.
“A relatively new software-development method called DevOps aims to make this kind of disciplined speed possible. It breaks down silos between development, operations, and quality assurance groups, allowing them to collaborate more closely and be more agile. When done properly, DevOps improves the speed and reliability of application development and deployment by standardizing development environments. It uses strong methods and standards, including synchronizing the tools used by each group.”
DevOps is the name of the game when it comes to shipping better, faster, cheaper and more reliably in a Cloud-First, Mobile-First world.
“DevOps relies heavily on automated tools to do tasks in testing, configuration control, and deployment—tasks that are both slow and error-prone when done manually. Companies that use DevOps need to foster a culture where different IT groups can work together and where workers accept the rules and methods that make the process effective. The discipline, tools, and strong processes of DevOps can help IT release software more rapidly and with fewer errors, as well as monitor performance and resolve process issues more effectively, than before.”
In order for your Digital Transformation to thrive, it takes building better bridges between the business leaders and the IT leaders.
“Whether your CIO takes it upon himself or herself to improve the IT-business relationship, or you decide to help make it happen, forging a strong link between business and IT executives is an essential part of driving digital transformation. Strong IT-business relationships can transform the way IT works and the way the business works with it. Through trust and shared understanding, your technology and business experts can collaborate closely, like at LBG, to innovate your business at digital speeds. Without this kind of relationship, your company may become mired in endless requirements discussion, filing projects, and lackluster systems, while your competitors accelerate past you in the digital fast lane.”
If you want to thrive in the new digital economy while driving digital business transformation without breaking your existing business, consider adding Dual-Speed IT to your strategies and shift the mix from traditional IT to your Digital Unit over time.
Think in a Series of Sprints, Not Marathons
It’s possible to change IT from a poorly respected cost center to a high-functioning business partner.
Driving business transformation is a people, process, and technology thing.
Some people think they can change their business without IT. The challenge is that technology is the enabler of significant business change in today’s digital landscape. Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Big Data all bring significant capabilities to the table, and IT can hold the keys.
But the business doesn’t want to hear that.
Business leaders don’t want to hear about the HOW of technology.
Business leaders want to hear about the impact on their business. They want to hear about how predictive analytics can help them build a better pipeline, or target more relevant offers. Business leaders want to hear about how they can create cross-sell/upsell opportunities in real-time. And, business leaders want to hear about the business benefits and the KPI that will be impacted by choosing a particular strategy.
The reality is that the new Digital Masters of the emerging Digital Economy bring their IT with them, and in many cases, their IT even helps lead the business into the new Digital Frontier.
In the book, Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation, George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee, share some of their lessons learned from companies that are digital masters that created their digital visions and are driving business change.
While it takes work on both sides, IT can change it’s game by creating transparency around performance, roles, and value. This includes helping employees think and talk differently about what they do. IT can show very clearly how it delivers value for the money. And IT can change the way IT and business leaders make investment decisions and assess the returns.
The CIO and everybody in IT, needs to speak the language of business.
“Poor relations between IT and business leaders can have many causes. Sometimes it's the personality of the IT leader. A common complaint among senior executives is that their CIO seems to speak a different language from the business. Another is that the CIO doesn't seem to understand what's really important. For example, a chemical company CIO we interviewed described how he communicates regularly with business executives about the innovative possibilities of digital technologies. Yet none of his business executive peers (whom we interviewed separately) seemed to find the discussions credible.”
It’s a competitive world and IT needs to continuously find ways to deliver solutions in a way that makes business sense.
“Sometimes the issue arises from IT's delivery capability. According to Bud Mathaisel, who has served as CIO in several large companies, 'It starts with competence in delivering services reliably, economically, and at very high quality. It is the absolute essential to be even invited into meaningful dialog about how you then build on that competence to do something very interesting with it.' Unfortunately, some IT units today do not have this competence. One business executive we interviewed said, 'IT is a mess. It's costs are not acceptable. It proposes things in nine or ten months, where external firms could do them in three to nine weeks. We started offshoring our IT, and now our IT guys are trying to change.' A legacy of poor communication, byzantine decision processes, and broken commitments is no foundation on which to build a strong IT-business relationship.”
In order to bet on IT, it needs to be high-performing. And in order for IT to be high-performing, it needs to have a good digital platform.
“However, the fault doesn't always rest only with IT leaders. In many cases, business executive share some of the blame ... high-performing IT requires a good digital platform, and good platforms require discipline. If your approach to working with IT can be characterized by impatience, unreasonable expectations, or insisting on doing things your way, then you'll need to think about how to change your side of the relationship.”
Key business transformation takes technology. CIOs can help lead the business transformation, whether it's through shared goals with the business, creating a new governance mechanism, or creating a new shared digital unit.
“Regardless of the case, if your IT-business relationships are poor, it's essential to fix the problem. A bank executive stated, 'IT has been brought closer to business during the last five years. It is very important to success because man of the important transformations in our business are enabled by technology.' With strong relationships, IT executives can help business executives meet their goals, and business executives listen when IT people suggest innovations. Executives on both sides are willing to be flexible in creating new governance mechanisms or shared digital units. At Codelco, Asian Paints, and P&G, the CIO even leads digital transformation for the company.”
CIOs can help drive the bus, but it takes more than senior sponsorship.
“So, how can you start to improve your IT-business relationship? Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry, told her CIO he needed to help drive the bus with the executive team. However, leadership changes or top-down mandates are only the start of the change. Few CIOs can change the business by themselves, and not all business executives will climb on the bus with the CIO, even if the CEO demands it.”
Start by fixing how you communicate between the business and IT.
“Fixing the IT-business relationship can take time, as people learn how to trust each other and redefine the way they work together. As with any struggling relationship, the best starting point is to fix the way you communicate. Does IT really cost too much, or are costs reasonable, given what IT has to do? Is the IT unit really too bureaucratic, or do all of those procedures actually serve a useful purpose? Are you a good partner to IT or a difficult one? How can IT make it easier for you to get what you need, while still making sure things are done correctly? What investments can help IT improve its technology, internal processes, cost-effectiveness, quality, or speed?”
It’s possible to change IT from a low performing cost center to a high-performing business partner. Companies do it all the time, and MIT has the research.
“MIT research into IT turnarounds has identified a series of steps that can change IT from a poorly respected cost center to a high-functioning business partner. The key change mechanism is transparency--around performance, roles, and value. The first step is to help IT employees think, and talk, differently about what they do. The second step proceeds to showing very clearly how well (or how poorly) IT delivers value for money--the right services at the right quality and right price, and where problems still exist. And then the third step moves to changing the way IT and business leaders make investment decisions and assess the returns that projects deliver. Through transparency around roles, performance, and investments, both sides can make smoother decisions and work together to identify and deliver innovation.”
If you’re part of a business that wants to change the world, start by reimagining how IT can help you achieve the art of the possible.
Building Better Business Cases for Digital Initiatives
Drive Business Transformation by Reenvisioning Your Operations
How Digital is Changing Physical Experiences
The Future of IT Leaders
When you create your digital vision, you have a few places to start.
One place to start is by reenvisioning your customer experience. Another place to start is by reenvisioning your operations. And, a third place to start is by renvisioning your business model.
In this post, let’s take a look at reenvisioning your operations.
If your financial performance is closely connected to the performance of your core operations and supply chain, then reenvisioning your operations can be a great place to start.
“Organizations whose fortunes are closely tied to the performance of their core operations and supply chains often start with reenvisioning their operations.”
There are many great business reasons to focus on improving your operations. A few of the best include increasing process visibility, increasing speed of decision making, and improving collaboration across the board.
“The business drivers of operational visions include efficiency and the need to integrate disparate operations. Executives may want to increase process visibility and decision making speed or to collaborate across silos.”
Proctor and Gamble changed their game by focusing on operational excellence. The key was to be able to manage the business in real time so they could keep up with their ever-changing world.
“For instance, in 2011, Proctor & Gamble put operational excellence at the center of its digital vision: 'Digitizing P&G will enable us to manage the business in real time and on a very demand-driven basis. We'll be able to collaborate more effectively and efficiently, inside and outside the company.' Other companies in industries from banking to manufacturing, have transformed themselves through similar operationally focused visions.”
If your business is a provider of products or services to other businesses, then your operational vision is especially important as it can have a ripple effect on what your customers do.
“Operational visions are especially useful for businesses that sell largely to other businesses. When Codelco first launched its Codelco Digital initiative, the aim was to improve mining operations radically through automation and data integration. As we described in chapter 3, Codelco continued to extend this vision to include new mining automation and integration operations-control capability. Now, executives are envisioning radical new ways to redefine the mining process and possibly the industry itself.”
When you change your operations, you can change the industry.
“The operational visions of some companies go beyond an internal perspective to consider how the company might change operations in its industry or even with its customers.“
When you improve your operations, you can help others move up the solution stack.
“For example, aircraft manufacturer Boeing envisions how changes to its products may enable customers to change their own operations. 'Boeing believes the future of the aviation industry lie in 'the digital airline,' the company explained on its website. 'To succeed in the marketplace, airlines and their engineering and IT teams must take advantage of the increasing amount of data coming off of airplanes, using advanced analytics and airplane technology to take operational efficiency to the next level.' “
One of the best things you can do when you improve operations is to put the information in the hands of the people that need it most, when they need it most, where they need it most.
“The manufacturer goes on to paint a clear picture of what a digital airline means in practice: 'The key to to the digital airline is delivering secure, detailed operational and maintenance information to the people who need it most, when they need it most. That means that engineering will share data with IT, but also with the finance, accounting, operational and executive functions.' “
When you improve operations, you enable and empower business breakthroughs in all parts of the business.
“The vision will improve operations at Boeing's customers, but will also help Boeing's operations as the information from airplanes should help the company identify new ways to improve its product designs and services. The day may also lead to new business models as Boeing uses the information to provide new services to customers.”
When you create your digital vision, while there are lots of places you could start, the key is to take an end-to-end view.
If your financial performance is tied to your core operations and your supply chain, and/or you are a provider of products and services to others, then consider starting your business transformation by reenvisioning your operations.
The Future of Jobs
Reenvision Your Customer Experience