Brexit

Brexit, CIO, Entrepreneurship, Failure, Leadership, Lean Startup, Philosophy, Product Management, Stability

Your “de-growth journey” and what it means


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When I read the HBR article here: https://hbr.org/2020/02/why-de-growth-shouldnt-scare-businesses I had one of those moments.  Read about why de-growth might not be such a bad thing after all.

When I was a child I was totally happy.  I lived in a small house in the black country, in a not too pretty road, looking out across the flats that rose over us.  We literally lived in their shadow.  We played with the kids in those flats but we didn’t dare enter the flats.  Even back then there was a feeling that these buildings would suck you into their soullessness.  There was no snobbery on the playground I must assure you.  If anything the kids in those flats were cool because they were street-wise and interesting but even at that age I could tell where the boundary was between hope and despair.  Even then I was aware that if the hole was big enough and deep enough, a person might never get out of it.

And so it is in business.  There is always a hole you might never get out of however smart, lucky, professional, likeable, etc etc you are.  And the 80’s kids amongst us, the Gen Xers, have pretty much been brain-washed that you “sell, sell, sell” and you “grow, grow, grow”.

But there was something they never taught us.  Nothing continues to grow endlessly.  Countries do not become more and more productive over time.  Look at Japan.  Arguably the most innovative country in the world.  People don’t simply get richer and richer with no interruption in their fortune.  If they appear to, they are either very lucky or very dishonest.  For in the dice we roll, for longer-term benefits, there is always a short term sacrifice.

And so it is with many things.  The planet.  We cannot go on in the same way and expect a different outcome.  We can be smarter and change our habits but the re-dress will be painful for some, make no mistake.  To stop chopping down rainforests we need to wean ourselves off palm oil, to go electric we must wean ourselves off the internal combustion engine.  What about classic cars?  What about the roar of an engine?  What about chocolate?  For everything, we win we inevitably lose at the same time.  The question is whether the equation of sacrifice and gain eventually tips in our favour.

Maybe all this is why 80’s actors like Richard Gere got into Buddhism.  https://www.lionsroar.com/impermanence-is-buddha-nature-embrace-changemay-2012/. The concept of impermanence called anicca (Pāli) or anitya (Sanskrit) is that everything is subject to change.  The body is finite and will eventually die.  Moments of suffering can be fleeting only because moments of joy are also fleeting too.

So the idea that business, or projects, products, or careers will continue on an upward trajectory with no interruptions or culd-de-sacs is as absurd from a practical perspective as it is from an Eastern philosophical perspective.

Eventually, they demolished those flats.   And the people within them moved into brand new maisonettes.  They were almost in the same place.  Meanwhile, at 21, as a graduate, I found myself living part-time with an unemployed musician in a block of flats down the road.  How times had changed.  Now it was my turn to stand in a dodgy smelling lift in a cheap suit.

So just think, right now about your “de-growth” time.  You may even be having it now, or just come out of it.  Is your life richer for the good times or for the bad?  Is your business better for the highs or for the lows?

The journey to clarity may not be comfortable but when you travelled there on the bus, the limousine is all the more satisfying.

Don’t beat yourself up in the troughs.  Think about how you can re-group with the space given to you by the silence of failure.

agile, Brexit, CIO, Investment Management, Leadership, Lean, Lean PMO, Politics, Stability, Strategy

A Nifty Article Fifty Breakdown


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If you are a UK CIO you have a lot to think about if June 8th takes article 50 to its natural conclusion…

Here is a nifty breakdown from CIO.com..

“The major milestones for CIOs to keep an eye on include the following:

  • U.K. parliamentary review of Great Repeal Bill (Late 2017): This will provide the first opportunity for an initial assessment of legal impacts on managed service agreements and other IT contract documents.
  • Royal assent of Great Repeal Bill (Mid 2018): At this point, any gaps in the legislation should be addressed, enabling IT organizations to confirm legal impacts and initiate contractual change activities.
  • Brexit negotiations wrap up (Fall 2018): This will create clarity the regulatory, operational, audit, and reporting impacts on IT services.
  • U.K. Houses of Parliament, European Council, EU Parliament, and remaining 27-member Parliament vote on deal (Early 2019): This will confirm IT impacts and enable CIOs to begin related IT change programs
  • Transition period begins (March 2019): CIOs can structure timelines for completion of IT projects to address necessary digital transition and transformation requirements.”

http://www.cio.com/article/3189040/it-industry/how-brexit-will-impact-global-cios-and-it-services.html

However, with all these (less face it) rather boring boxes to tick and cross there will be little resource to deal with the ever increasing pace of change within the wider economy.  As such, the threat of Brexit is not just one of legal and commercial wrangling (Although that will certainly feature heavily).  The real issue is going to be that already stretched IT departments are going to be hit with “Regulation, Regulation, Regulation” when they also have to deal with “Innovation, Innovation, Innovation”.

If Brexit goes ahead the latter is likely to be the biggest casualty.

So how can the CIO keep pace with this?

During this period 3 things will be key to the post-article 50 CIO:

  1. A razor sharp focus on investment in the biggest IT return.  Yes Brexit projects will HAVE to happen but others will need to be picked for their direct impact on organisational outcomes.  This might be revenue or reputation, either way it will be high on the agenda.
  2. Use of Agile to ensure that those BAU projects are kept on track.  Agile methods and techniques such as KANBAN will be needed more than ever to keep visibility high.
  3. IT departments will need to become product centric and better at marketing than the marketing department!  No-one will use your internal product let alone your external one if your team can’t break through the noise of Brexit.

Magic Milestones has a number of services specifically designed to give you maximum bang for buck in times like these.  Read more here.. https://magicmilestones.com/services/