Big Hairy Audacious Goals: Smarter Government at Impact
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Contributed by Chris Schmitt - WebSphere Marketing Manager - Government
Getting back from Las Vegas after Impact 2013, I was thinking about what I learned this year. A few things stood out, the first being I am no longer 22 anymore and 5 days in Vegas is just exhausting. The second, and more important, is that while we at IBM have a lot of great solutions and great experts, the best part of Impact is the clients. Our clients have some fantastic stories and I think I learn just as much from them as they do from us.
This year I made it a point to attend more client sessions than in the past to ensure I got the full Impact experience. And while every session I saw was great, I think my favorite was the Government round table, because it gave some of our clients a chance to have an open discussion, between themselves and with the audience. Where else will the audience get an opportunity to listen to, and ask questions of such a diverse group of experts as: Gavin McCairns from Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship; Graham Stagg from the Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service, and Scott McEwen and Zoya Ponomareva from the State of Alaska, all at one time. And they did not disappoint…
Now back to the title of this blog: Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Like I mentioned earlier, I feel that I get just as much out of Impact and hearing from our clients as they do hearing from IBM. And during the round table there was a common theme from all of the speakers in kicking off a new initiative…start small. This holds true if you are pursuing a project that is new to the organization, may be difficult to understand, and especially if it is counter culture to what has been done before. And that makes sense, start with something you can handle, and if you are going to fail (and there are always some failures), fail early. Because small, early project failures are recoverable. It is those three year, 30 million dollar failures that destroy projects…and frankly credibility. There was general consensus from the panel on this.
And then Mr. McCairns said something I did not expect. He said, yes start small, but follow the BHAG principle… set Big Hairy Audacious Goals. It is OK to shoot for the stars, to ask your people for the impossible, to challenge them. Because they need to understand that what they are doing is important. And what they are doing is revolutionary. And you know what; your people may surprise you. So after years of my telling clients to be conservative, don’t bite off more than you can chew; my perspective has changed. Why not think outside the box, why not do something that is important and hard and if done correctly will really change the organization.
So when you are thinking about your next project remember to start small, fail early… and set some Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Give your people a challenge, something to shoot for, and who knows, they may surprise you. And if they do, let me know and we’ll have you telling your story at Impact next year.
For everyone who attended Impact this year and especially everyone those who presented, we want to thank you for your participation and we hope it was a valuable experience.
If you registered for Impact and want to view the presentations from the round table participants please utilize the following links: