This past Thursday I had the opportunity to talk with a hundred or more members of the central IT organization at the monthly All-IT meeting. Guy Mullins and the DMIT team captured the event as a podcast.
It records a free-form, extemporaneous conversation I had with the team built around a short powerpoint presentation. (Conversation is being charitable...it was a monologue interspersed and followed with a few questions. But if you've spent much time with me lately, that's what passes for a conversation with me. Can you say "listening challenged"?)
I don't think I said anything too outrageous, but the meeting did have the feeling of an old fashioned tent revival at times. The purpose was to introduce myself, brief a wide audience on the current status of the technology planning process, and describe my plan for using a wiki-based process to collaborate in creating ASU's technology strategy.
If you have an hour to kill, this would do it -- handily.
Having listened to this podcast myself, I have much more sympathy for George Bush. :) I don't think I said anything as "memorable" as "put food on your family"), but I can tell you its a lot harder to say what you mean in person than in writing, especially if you're doing it off the top of your head.
As I was writing this post, a couple of examples of this phenomenon just came in that I have to share with you. Both are from my friend and advisor Matt Bohnsack.
First Matt points out...
"Thanks for the plug near the end [I was talking about Matt when I referred to the gifted developer] . I don't think you said what you meant, but I was honored by the reference:
What you said: The solution is between the impossible and the best possible solution.
What you meant to say: The solution is exactly that which seems impossible - that which lies between two irreconcilably different and opposing options."
He's right, I did get that wrong. We had just talked about it, including about how best to say it, to communicate it. What I meant was that the right thing to do usually lies between the horns of the bull. I meant that. I just couldn't get it out.
Matt's second one is more of a thoughto on my part than a speako (akin to typo). He points out:
Security, networking, and other infrastructre deserve top-level billing. The guy who asked you about security is thinking you're an idiot right now. It's true that infrastructure doesn't fall into the same kind of beautiful bucket that 1:1 and unified portal do, but it must have a vision from the top or it won't get to the place you need it to be, and nothing will be able to ride on the rails.
What's your strategy now? Claim ignorance and hope infrastructure will come along for the ride? Do whatever it takes to make 1:1, unified portal, and the NAU/ERP happen?
You need a goal and metrics to measure infrastructure progress, or your strategy for this stuff is truly only "hope for the best". This will bite you hard UTO -- like run you out of town hard -- if the unthinkable security incident happens, and you're on record as saying no top-level strategy is your official policy. Ideally, you need to find a simple unifying goal like the others (1:1, etc.) to move infrastructure forward just as clearly. Please strongly consider this.
Don't you love, "run you out of town hard". With words a way this Bohnsack has.