New years always begin with fresh ideas, hope and dreams, but how many will we fulfil in 2001? Will we take onboard new learning and put them into action? Will we strive for our IT departments to be all they can be, and will we have the courage to look deep inside ourselves and realise that we can all be far more than what we have become, and at last awaken our true, full and awesome potential?
In my experience, if we are to achieve, and be, more, there are three crucial prerequisites for our success: to focus on what we want; to be clear on our outcomes; and to be willing to believe in ourselves.
Focus on what you want
Too many people set out to change something in their lives by concentrating on what they do not want. The most obvious example of this is those who want to give up smoking.
However, few people will be successful if they simply look at a belief or behaviour they do not want, and there is a simple reason for this. Our minds do not think in negatives. Proof of this is easy - right now, stop and do not think of the colour yellow. It is impossible, we have to think of something in order to then remove it from our minds, or, more powerfully still, we have to not think about what we do not want, and instead focus on what we do.
In the arena of leadership and personal development this is powerful, as instead of worrying about stopping things, we can rather focus all of our energies on starting something new - and doing that new behaviour until it becomes a habit.
For years organisations have wasted time, money and resources on not really knowing what they want. Millions have been spent on aims, missions, goals, re-engineering, quality, visions etc, but how many people truly stopped to ask what any of these really meant?
Try it - it quickly becomes a vicious circle of confusion. It would be funny, if it was not so sad, that so many firms continue to do just this.
It is time to focus on clear outcomes, in all that we do, and all that we want - personally, for our teams and for our organisations. Keep asking yourself what is the actual, tangible outcome of this. Can we measure it? Can we hold it? Can we deliver it? Can we put it in a wheelbarrow?
I emphasise there is nothing inherently wrong with using any of the terms above, provided you know exactly what they mean.
Best year of your life?
I have a very successful friend who leads an IT department of about 100 people. He ends each year by looking back on his achievements, and starts each new year by looking ahead to what he will achieve. And every year, he decides, will be the best year so far of his working and personal life.
And Inside Track will this year be helping to ensure that 2001 is the very best year of your life, and of your teams, and for your organisations. For 2001 we will alternate between four specific areas in successive weeks:
As usual, we will not pull any punches, and, with an election looming, will step up the pressure, raising the issues that are important to you, the people that are driving IT and business in this 21st century. We will not duck any issues, I assure you.
So, please let me know your thoughts and feedback. I am particularly interested in case studies, successes and IT leaders to interview. Please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via email@example.com
This is going to be a fantastic year, full of excitement and opportunity realised - that is, of course, if you want it to be.
David Taylor's Inside Track, a provocative insight into the world of IT in business, is out now, published by ButterworthHeinemann Tel: 01865-88180