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In the Thick of IT

by Gareth Jones,

On a recent coaching call, my amazing Coach – Mark Creedon from Business Accelerator Mastermind asked me to book in a call with him on 3 things I need – if I had 3 wishes, what would they be? I clarified this by asking “Do you mean 3 personal things, 3 professional things?” to which he simply replied “Yes”.

Easy right? Well, it didn’t turn out to be. This question was something swirling around the back of my mind through the remainder of the week and well into the next. I would raise the question to myself, not come up with an immediate answer, and then push the question to the back of my mind once again. Rinse, repeat….nothing. Now, I am the first to admit I am far from perfect. There are probably a variety of three things I need to work on depending on whom you ask and their individual view. But why couldn’t I see it?

I once again put it to the back of my mind and procrastinated on booking the meeting. This was until I took my dog for a walk one evening – a regular practice. I was 60 seconds from home on the return leg and the thought once again entered my mind. This time, rather than solving the question, I thought more about why I was struggling with the answer. Why couldn’t I identify this in myself easily – then it hit me. Headspace. I didn’t have the headspace to see the forest for the trees. I was operating far too much in the thick of it all – which was all seemingly moving in the right direction – but I couldn’t look at everything around me, including myself, with the right level of objectivity. So, I focused there, on the predicament instead. This gave me a little clarity, and now I will work with Mark on three areas that quickly sprung to mind after going through this process, which is great – but that is not the purpose of me writing this. Going through this process made me reflect on the partners we work with. How ‘in the thick of it” must our CIOs and Heads of Departments be? Are they so “In the Thick of IT” that they too can’t see the forest for the trees?


They face tens and often hundreds of millions  being spent on IT improvements, multiple concurrent initiatives tied back to business outcomes and benefits often aligned to shifting sands. They face resourcing constraints, funding constraints, inner politics, and yet out the other side is often a pipeline of initiatives being delivered – to which some would argue as a success. When you are in the proverbial forest, but initiatives are being delivered, how do you lift your head above this this forest to gain that objectivity and identify how the same initiatives could be delivered better, or how better initiatives could be delivered in the first place. Without headspace, without clarity – you can’t.

Just like I did, seeking outside support, and enabling those trusted advisors provides the opportunity for clarity, and with clarity comes the opportunity for action. In other words, if you can’t see it or don’t recognise it, then you will do nothing about it – why would you? But if you enable that outside support, the other perspective if you will, and be open to it, then you will gain the clarity on how to improve your initiative delivery or improve initiative selection from the outset – and drive the outcomes your organisation is trusting you to do. Don’t go at it alone, get a coach, or better yet, let BAPL help you see the forest for the trees.

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