We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them – so said Albert Einstein – yet you see lots of people playing lip service to the bimodal, two speed, dual highway conversation so often slated as being the only real way to affect business change and consequently, business success.
Gartner talk that by 2017 75 % of IT organisations will have bimodal capability which is the the concept that of having two speeds of IT, each designed to develop and deliver information- and technology-intensive services in its own way. Speed 1 is traditional, emphasizing scalability, efficiency, safety and accuracy. Speed 2 is non-sequential, emphasizing agility and speed
Whether it is the IT organisation itself, supply chain partners, senior board or their clients ( internal and external ), the deep routed concern C levels are having is one that would resonate easily with Albert Einstein.
And this concern is this.
- “Can I achieve my goals with the same people ( thinking ) that created the situation I am in today?”
I posted recently about the impact of experience and the relevance of deep routed experiences that go back more than 5 years, and whether it is less about the past years’ of experience but more about what is going to happen next and the ability to forward think, envision, visualise and then work back to get the job done.
And its really interesting when you get into the weeds.
Whether it is an Enterprise Architect, Service Delivery Manager, Solution Consultant or Sales Person, the ability to ‘switch lanes’ from slow to fast to slow then back to fast ( motorway analogy is probably not too well defined – apologies ) is very very difficult – if not impossible. And why?
Well for operational reasons and human characteristics the true definition of a bi modal person is quite often all about MINDSET, and it is quite often very hard to find consistency of approach from people who juggle between the proverbial motorway lanes depending on traffic flow and road conditions.
With the looming wave of very fast speed Two technological advancements – Intelligent Cloud and Internet of Things plus Machine Learning and Adaptive Analytics – the mindset challenge is accelerating in chunks of serious magnitude, and yet you see many organisations resting their future on the same people responsible for Speed One delivery functions on the anticipation that they are ‘good people’ and ‘keen to learn’.
Is this the right strategy? it may well be from an employee progression and career development perspective supporting workers to transition their skills and capabilities. For many this embracing of our existing talent pool is part and parcel of the DNA of any organisation and is a significant success factor that is now blossoming all over the corporate world today.
Yet for others the real question is this.
- .” Do I actually need to separate Speed One and Speed Two people to let them do what they do well thus protecting my core whilst growing my edge, recognising individual talents and matching appropriately?”
And pretty much coming up from behind as a close second ( or perhaps first ) is this.
- ” Do I have the right management team behind me ( my Number Twos ) who can diversify and switch daily between Speed One and Speed Two events ensuring that everything we do ( core and edge ) is still consistent with our principles, standards and policies building teams based on relevant ‘bimodal’ experiences to deliver results”.
Quite often organisations – whether they are IT which is the focus of this post or outside IT – are poor at dealing with these two questions preferring to labour on using well worn excuses of ” we don’t want to stabilise what we have” or ” we can easily do bimodal – people just need to step up to the plate or ‘think outside the box”.
No one has the answers – and being speed one or two or both or neither – is no sign of any personal weakness. However, for an IT organisation trying to adapt and remain relevant whilst surrounded by all the emerging ‘out tasked’ events like Shadow IT and outsourcing I believe that failure to at least identify how they can mobilise for a Speed Two event could be damaging to not only their team but also to their business.
So next time you are thinking about having a conversation with a C level person consider before you enter their office whether you have seen any tangible evidence of a bimodal organisation in operation, or whether you identify that all they are doing is ‘sending the same people out on the pitch’ regardless of the speed required.