When I ran global IT infrastructure functions, I would often say to my staff, “By the time the business asks us for something, it's already too late.” What I had in mind is that it's unrealistic to expect business leaders to consider or even recognize the extent to which their strategies and initiatives will rely on infrastructure. When they're strategizing new global business models, for instance, nobody at the table is talking about network connectivity, response time, or security architecture. Nor should they be. Yet these essential services must be in place to support the execution of that business strategy. Infrastructure leaders can't wait to be told what the requirements are; we need to anticipate and prepare for them. And that requires us to understand the direction of the business, match it to advances in technology, and create a roadmap that is agile and flexible to support the business growth.
All innovation leaders need roadmaps that allow them to achieve their goals and realize their vision. Roadmaps are strategies that plot our course from where we are to where we want to be.
My leader and mentor, Sam Palmisano, told me,
The core responsibility of leadership is to understand when it's time to change—the organization and yourself—and what not to change, what must endure. Getting those right is hard—especially today, since so much is changing, and at such velocity, and in such unpredictable ways. Whether you lead a business ...