Under New Ownership: Calm Before the Storm?

Nothing of import happening yet, but getting some interesting rumblings / indicators of what’s to come. Definitely all business, no fooling around. The upper management and finance groups are quickly asking “how high” whenever these guys say jump. I feel the rest of the company is blissfully unaware of the train that’s heading down the track.

Not that I’m a pessimist, or a glutton for punishment – actually, I’m excited about the prospect of change in the organization, getting the business to a point where we can realize some truly exciting potential. The trick is that many profess the same, but few realize how wrenching change can be.

I do want to make sure that we don’t err too much in the other direction – yes, we’re excited to make change happen (finally), but let’s not shoot first, aim later. It’s a common trait in tech folks; presenting solutions without first understanding what the true problem is. There is security in working something concrete, and a sense of value added – it feeds our self confidence. Thing is, the business really only wants to act on things that advance towards the goal(s), and often those goals are not as apparent as one might think (it’s not like business leaders are by definition the best conceptual communicators in the world …).

A related thinking trap focuses on the “right way” to do something, like source control, code promotion, project management methodology, etc. If the value of doing something the academically “right way” does not translate quickly and easily to business value, you lose relevance in the minds of those who count.

So – back to the original observation – how to proceed? Well, best strategy right now is to lay the groundwork for any and all tactical, foundational projects we’d like to see happen, make sure the process doesn’t get in the way of quantifiable progress (and results), and be ready to take on challenges when they come up.

Easier said than done – key ingredient is enough self-confidence to be able to stand your ground with management. Note that confidence comes first, and from within – before we get a chance to shoot.

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James MacLennan

... is the Managing Partner at Maker Turtle LLC, a digital consultancy focused on creating value in ways that align with your strategy and drive engagement with employees, customers, and stakeholders. He is an active creator, providing thought leadership through on-line & print publications, and public speaking / keynotes.