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THE INTERVIEW | WILLIAM ROSS: Listen with humility, be agile to grow, take the hidden value in failure

F.Y. Teng | July 3, 2013
A senior information executive shares essential lessons he's learnt in his 23-year career.

The hidden value of failure. While we all seek to focus and measure success, we also need to understand there is also hidden value of failure experiences as well. As I noted before in moving fast you have to be accurate. I have learned is that in this type environment it is inevitable that you will have "points" of failure. The key here is not to make your points an emerging "system" of failure. It is okay to fail if you realistically understand in your original planning and execution the continuous risks in your opportunity. You also need to be finely attuned to rapidly embrace failure and change when it appears, and be rigorous to not repeat the same mistake ever again. In IT when failure becomes a transformational process to learning, it not only becomes mechanism for mitigation avoidance but an "opportunity benefit" (vs cost) to focus the time of your resources for more value added innovative creation

In your experience, which is more difficult to bridge: the communications gap between business and IT or that between teams from different geographies and cultures?
Whether you are dealing with situation where a either a functional/cultural divide, or a combination of both exist, "always remaining focused on solving the core problem that adds value" must always remain the primary rule of engagement when differences exist. Most parties generally agree that this universal truth always extends beyond any title, role, location, or non productive group think.

To answer your question further, both situations stifle growth and innovation so neither are more difficult to bridge when determining what is important to solve. Two key threats to measure in this type of divide is when individuals only provide their myopic view solely based on their independent perspective, and the practice of institutional legacy under the guise of "this is the way we have always have done it". Both of these practices can lead to either more fragmentation and/or complacency. In IT have never seen a problem get truly solved in either of these environments which therefore never adds real value to your organization when you allow for it to remain.

Therefore, to bridge the complexity on how you handle both functional and geographical problems, you always need get the individual parties to understand they have the same collective principles. This means clearly exposing, defining, and understanding your current situation. Then filtering tangible "facts" versus general "opinions" and distinguishing between "corollary" issues and "primary" problems. Finally design a comprehensive solution in addressing the problem beyond the divide (functional or geographical). This means in the expected outcome your solution should not only directly address people the process and technology as we hail in IT solutions but impact, integration, leverage, and velocity. This is a value proposition our customers expect and all stakeholder (functional or geographical) should agree in bridging the divide.

 

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