Thursday, January 03, 2013

There must be some way out of here

 … said the joker to the thief.

This story is my journey, from a newly minted yet confused CEO caught like a rabbit staring helpless into the oncoming headlights of change to more recently being voted one of the most influential people in IT within the UK. 

Along the way I failed copiously, experienced lots of painful lessons and generally bumbled along from one catastrophe to another. What I learned during the process, I dearly wish I had known at the beginning but such is the nature of experience, someone has to first experience it before you can learn and then you still need a way of learning.

So in the forlorn hope of helping the reader - I am mindful that the one thing we never learn from is the past especially when it belongs to others - I’ve taken it upon myself to write down those experiences. If you are like I once was, a confused CEO struggling to cope with the change around them, then this might help you progress in your journey. If however you are a master strategist looking for some new insight, some new form of competitive advantage then let me stop you there and save you time. 

The models and techniques that I’ll describe are at least seven years old, they have been taught to hundreds of thousands of people and there is little or no advantage contained within. This story is more about survival in today’s competitive landscape rather than gaining some new tactical advantage over a competitor.

Throughout this story, I’ll talk about the importance of maps. It’s the lack of any method of mapping change which often causes most of our problems along with our greatest blunders. Maps have been critical in all forms of competitive engagement throughout history, they are necessary to understanding why we take action, how we can defeat foes and where our escape routes are when things go wrong.  Mapping is therefore where we should probably start.

After examining the importance maps and why this might matter to business, we we’ll look into the wider environment that business exists within including the concepts and critical elements of change and how economies undergo cycles of upheaval. We will examine how this creates many common business problems along with modern day effects such as cloud computing and big data. 

With a general picture of the landscape and an appreciation of the importance of mapping, we will then look into how can we map this change and exploit such maps to our advantage. Finally, we will examine some of the organisational impacts of this, some common strategies for survival and how businesses can cope with change.

Part 1 of 200 - The beginning.

Next post in series ... the importance of maps


Unknown said...

Sounds like this will be very useful for me as a first time CEO. Thanks for sharing your insights, Simon.

Unknown said...

I, too, have had a similar journey over the last ten years; from wet-behind-the-ears CEO to being along side you in the aforementioned list of most influential people in British ICT!

And yet, despite all my expertise (on which, like you, I often get called to speak, suggesting I should really know what's going on! ;) ) I often still find myself caught in the headlights.

This is not because we are buffeted by change. In fact we have long been a trend setter in our own small way. Instead I find myself repeatedly having to choose a direction for my company with almost no reliable quantitative data to support either path.

I try to model things as best I can (usually with a big spread sheet, some historical numbers, some researched numbers, some guessed numbers and an extrapolation into the future), speak to people and listen to the wind, but on reflection one of the things I do not have a solid approach to is mapping out the business landscape around me.

I am therefore greatly looking forwards to your coming posts! I have read the first few and they have most certainly piqued my interest. Keep it up! :)

Monnika Jacob said...

Whenever you feel you are in a dead end, just take a short break, take a deep breath and then start working again to find out a way. Because no way is closed, it just seems to you and every way must come from somewhere. Coursework Writing Service