Thursday, April 05, 2012

What would cause "_____" to fail?

On Monday and Tuesday, I attended the Olin Innovation Lab, which was boutique CIO conference. In one of the session, Stephen Laster (Harvard Business School) led us in a discussion about an industry (academia) that may go through dramatic changes.  We talked about its current state, internal/external pressures, and more.  As the session wrapped up, we guessed what could trigger a dramatic change.  Our thoughts might be right and they give each of us something to use as we plan our futures.  Which leads me to this...

What would cause your efforts, project, program, or institution to fail?  What internal or external forces could cause it?  What weaknesses exist?  Yes, you are guessing and I hope your guesses are based both on knowledge (research) and honesty. 

Once you have a list of things that could cause a failure, make a second list of those things you can to do mitigate the failure OR survive it.  Go ahead...think creatively.

Take both lists to your colleagues and discuss them over coffee, in the hallway, and at lunch.  This will help you make both lists more robust and accurate.  Then sit down with your staff and have a serious conversation about how to implement those things that need to be done to mitigate whatever might cause a failure as well as those things that will help your project/program/institution/efforts to thrive...maybe even thrive better than it is now. this.  It could be the most important activity that you do this month (or even this year).

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