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Get Clear on Your Message Before it gets “Cloudy”



I heard an interesting quote today on a CIO Magazine webcast from Steven John, Strategic CIO of Workday, speaking about “The Cloud.”

“If you are doing what someone else can do then what only you can do is not getting done.”

Steven John, Strategic CIO, Workday

Steven’s point, that if another organization is more capable of doing what you are doing, give or take some due diligence, push the work out and focus your efforts on what you are uniquely skilled to do as an individual or a company, makes sense.

So much sense, in fact, corporations in this country have been following the strategy of pushing out jobs to the other side of the border and the other side of the world because the skill is there, the pay is low and they work while we sleep.  In short it does not make sense or cents to do the work here.

C-level executives are wrestling with this “Cloud” problem figuring out answers to “Cloud 101″ questions today like how to best deploy their human capital.  Tomorrow they will also be fighting upstart competitors in “Cloud 201: How not to get eaten by the little guy that has a lower cost basis than you and no legacy gear to work around.”

OK, so what does this have to do with you?

It is time for you to take stock and figure out what “only you can do” and get busy getting good at it before the Cloud comes and rains on your parade.

If you are an IT executive, look for opportunities to free up your IT resources.  Create an internal cloud; use a public provider or some hybrid model pitched by VMware and Citrix to push the things you don’t need to be doing, the commodities, to the line of business or a strategic partner.

Consultant?  Find and focus on your niche and push off everything else including and mowing the grass on those days you work from home to specialists if your revenue stream permits.

There are real live schools contemplating replacing teachers with computers in some specific test cases, how far could behind could a sales or consulting job be that is built on the model of being paid to educate others and demonstrate expertise?

As I build up the territory I am in, I am facing a similar problem today.  To hit my self-imposed targets for the year the math tells me I need to do more research and make more new contacts than it is practical for me to make in a day and still work on the rest of what I do.

I spent four hours building a nine page spreadsheet detailing every aspect of my business and defining the ratios I need to monitor to stay on track.  (in retrospect, probably should have farmed that task out)  Now I am faced with three choices.

1.  Keep doing what I was doing, and go look for my Ignorance is Bliss T-shirt.

2.  Focus on where I am strongest, building my community of customers and growing those relationships, pawn off low level client research and paperwork tasks, and follow my plan.

3.  Try to straddle the fence and will myself to do it all, not let anything fall through the cracks, maintain exceptional customer service, toss a hand grenade into my personal life and get “We miss you” cards from my kids at work because I am never home.


The quote I led off with and my spreadsheet exercise really opened my eyes.  This morning I would have said I was on track to have a great year.  Now I realize to hit my personal stretch-goal I need an assistant to help me find and research 2200 prospect firms with at least one of ten pain points, with a certain organizational structure and head count so I can have 200 meetings to earn 43 net new clients.

And I need to streamline my process so that this activity level will be practical and my own best intentions do not blow up in my face.

Can you make the changes that will let you find and focus in on what only you can do?

I’m ready.  Are you?  To the Cloud!