Posts for Tag: Strategy

Strategic Thinking & Lessons in Management by Jeff Bezos

I learned a lot about the way Jeff Bezos thinks and looks at business and life after reading early this year 'The Shop of Everything' by Brad Stone. As I grow older I realise what thinking long term really means. 

You see, when you are young, strategic thinking is something that you need to force yourself to do, you think of it from a time perspective; strategic decisions are important because they provide better returns, but they take considerably longer than a more tactical approach.  

While this makes perfect sense, its a very narrow minded immature of looking at it. 

When I ran my own company I thought that making a long term decision meant I would see an outcome in a specific date, as if there was a mandatory waiting time that I needed to endure in order to get a return on my investment, since I didn't have any money to bank that waiting time, every decision I made was short sighted, focused on our day to day operations. The result were what would be expected, a company that ended up living and surviving day to day. 

I now see things so differently, strategic thinking is not task orientated, it is seeded in a set of principles and philosophies that drive a set of actions without a specific output date set in stone, strategic thinking is malleable, it bends but does not break as its existence does not exclusively depend on external circumstances. 

Its still focused on obtaining a return on investment, but it takes other things into account as well, such as sustainability, scale, competition. 

Im not sure if at that age I would ever be able to understand this, specially without having gone through the hardships and failures I went through due to my limited view of things in general.  

Being Technology Agnostic as a CIO

One of the biggest mistakes I have done in my career is falling on the tech bandwagon and making decisions based on what I thought the inherent value of a specific technology was. 

The raw truth is that technology is nothing but a vehicle to get somewhere. Sometimes throughout your journey you will need to take a bumpy old dirt road while other times you can take a brand new highway to get to where you need to go, in both cases they usually point towards the same direction. 

Many organisations never fulfil the full potential of the technology they already have purely because they are not ready from a cultural or operational stand point to execute. In most cases technology is not the problem, its just a distraction. 

I remember when running my digital agency when quoting for a project, most of the work and cost would fall into back-office development, very rarely the customer experience would be the main priority, as if the technology was always more important than the outcome it is supposed to generate. 

Things I ask myself when becoming too excited about any technology:

  • Whats the skill set gap and ask myself how long would it take and how much would it cost to change technology?
  • Does the technology have a proven record, any success cases?
  • If something goes wrong, do I or my team have anywhere to go?
  • Is there any documentation? Is it kept up to date?
  • Whats the effort if I chose to move away from it?
  • Is there a simpler way to achieve the same outcome?

Fundamentally every technology that is considered to be cutting edge today will be seen as legacy tomorrow. As CIO, technology, no matter how sexy it may appear to be is the last thing on my mind when creating a product strategy for my business.