Winds of change

If you have an untested person undertaking an unfamiliar challenge with new technology, you shall fail.

Introduce a new technology for a familiar challenge with proven leadership. Assign a new leader familiar challenges with technologies that are proven to work. And finally, undertake any new and unfamiliar challenges with tested leadership and proven technologies.


Violate any of these laws and you shall fail.

Chan had hired Jay for an executive role. The search had lasted almost a year. The CIO, Mitt, was eager to make rapid progress with Jay on-board.

Mobility was the rage. Mitt, in his inimitable style, had a vision for revolutionizing business. His idea called for incentivizing product purchases with free information-based services. It was nothing short of radical in their field of business.

And here was a new hire, ready to spread his wings and fly. Mitt wanted Chan to take on mobility as a stretch goal. What new hire wouldn’t want to work on a game-changing new project? 

Chan had his misgivings. He trusted the CIO’s vision. He also believed in setting up his people for success. The company had no experience with mobility. And Jay was untested in his new role.

Chan gave it some thought. Giving a new hire a challenging new assignment seemed unwise. Experience had taught Chan the value of providing structure to support new hires in their first six months. Like training wheels on a bicycle. The new hire probably needed time to learn the ropes. Chan let Mitt know.

That was not what the CIO expected to hear. Mitt pressured Chan to act. Chan, confident in his position, calmly laid out his reasoning. The CIO then changed tact. He asked Chan whether he was risk-averse. Chan was prepared for this. He pointed out to other occasions where he had taken calculated risks. “This decision is fair to the person and to the project,” Chan presented.

The CIO found Chan coming at it from his convictions. He let himself be persuaded. Jay got the benefit of Chan’s wisdom. Jay proved to be one of the company’s best hires.

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