Failure is in the eye of the beholder

“Failure and What You Can Learn from It” by Kim S. Nash (CIO Magazine, 15 May 2009). To some extent a slightly lengthy feel-good (read: you’re not alone) article for anyone who is battling or has battled the potentially toxic effects of “failure”. While there are some who would argue that failure is not necessary for success, the AU state of mind doesn’t judge per se – the objective at any given moment is to experiment, learn, adapt and keep evolving. Standing still is not an option. Might this state of mind lead to “failure”? Hopefully so.  But just across the thin line from today’s failure can be tomorrow’s success.  The only way out is up!

If time is tight for you at the moment then schedule time to come back to the featured article. In the mean time be sure to consume the quick, easy and helpful: “To Avoid Failure, First Define Success” also by Ms. Nash.

However, the best project methodologies cannot overcome problems created by personal agendas, conflicts and lack of alignment between groups inside the organization, says Krigsman.

Your invite to the success party

“Now is the Best Time to Start a Business” by Gary Beach, Publisher Emeritus (CIO Mag, 15 May 2009). Now granted, not everyone reading these posts here has global aspirations. None the less, Mr. Beach makes some good points. If you have a great idea (read: a burning vision) then this is a great time to get started. The start is always the start – it’s not easy building up momenteum. But with the weak hiding, making excuses and running for the sidelines, that clears the way for the true believers.  The (mental / emotional) barriers to entry are higher, and that’s a good thing. No one is going to server you / your company an invitation to the success party. You have to get out there and throw that party yourself. Let’s us know how AU can help.

If the CIO fits then wear it

“How to Successfully Market IT” By Susan Cramm and “How CIOs Can Best Influence Stakeholders” from the CIO Executive Council (CIO Mag, 1 April 2009,

Now before anyone jumps to conclusions such as, “Why should I read all this CIO stuff? I’m not a CIO.” Well, either are we – but that doesn’t mean we can’t all gain something by thinking like one. IT divisions are  often (ideally) set up to run like independent companies and in adding value and serving customers, etc. there are themes (read: best practices) that exist beyond type of industry, size of company, etc. When you read these two quickies just replace CIO with business owner and IT with the name of your company.  The odds are good that you’ll be happy to be thinking like a CIO.

What came first, the speaker or the audience

“Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking” by Editor In Chief Maryfran Johnson (CIO Magazine, 1 April 2009, does a handy job at helping raise your public speaking game. She’s even goes bold and gets it right when she says, “It’s not about you.”

However, we’d actually like to take that a step further and rewrite her “most important question” (mentioned in the next to the last paragraph) to “What is this particular audience going to hear when I tell the story I want to tell?” A truly effective communicator understands context and that as Frank “Words That Work” Luntz says, “It’s not what you say, but what people hear.” In other words, the story you want to tell is meaningless, it’s the story they’re going to hear that really matters.

And while we’re on this subject here’s another from CIO,  “How to Master Professional Speaking” by John Baldoni.

No this isn’t a post on infomercials

“20 Things You Can Do In 20 Minutes to Be More Successful at Work” by Stephanie Overby, With the Staff of CIO and (CIO Magazine, Narch 2008). The good news is that some of these won’t even take you 20 minutes. The bad news is ther’s actually an extra to-do… Read this article.

Good things come in threes

“Staying Focused in Tough Times” by Kristen Burnham (CIO Magazine, March 2009, which came with sidebar article that could be helpful, “Three-minute Coach” by Brian Tracy.  And finally, read another by Ms. Burnham, “…Hardness the Power of Social Networking” then grab a green tea and take the edge off (productively) by spending 15 minutes social networking.

The future is so now. (10 sites hoping to be the next big thing.)

“10 Web Sites That Will Matter in 2009″ by Mark Sullivan, CIO Magazine (, 22 January 2009). It’s hard to say why people put themselves out on a limb with a title like this. Let’s face it, if Wall Street’s quants can’t predict the future then there’s not much hope for the rest of us. Luckily most of us accept that we are only humans in an imperfect world. With that said, the title is an eye catcher. On top of that getting a sense where some web things might be going makes this worth a go. Cocktail party fodder for web geeks.

An innovator on innovation

“Judy Estrin: 5 Things I’ve Learned” as told by Jarina D’Auria (CIO Magazine, 15 January 2009). Ms. Estrin’s new book is called, “Closing the Innovation Gap.” If  the previous post in 4Q 09 didn’t inspire you to get on Judy’s bus, this one should at least nudge you in the right direction.

Building the right team

“5 Things I’ve Learned” By Linus Torvalds, as told to Steven Vaughan-Nichols (CIO Mag, 15 Oct 2008). Once you click through don’t let the full title scare you, these guidelines apply to more than just software development. That’s why we felt this single pager was worth sharing. For those who don’t know, Linus Torvalds is the genius behind the Linux operating system.

From clueless to unemployed

“Still Clueless” from Mr Gary Beach, Publisher Emeritus of CIO Magazine ( does a fantastic job summing up the current state of (corporate) marketing. It’s half a page so just dive right in.

The irony is CIO isn’t even a marketing publication. Here’s Mr Beach saying what too many marketeers are afraid to admit – the days of spin are over. The customer is in control of the relationship. Bullsh*t them and they’re likely to go elsewhere. Mr Beach specifies that in order to be effective CIOs must meet with customers. But why stop at CIOs? Let’s go all the way. Every position within a company should be well aware of who’s money is behind the paychecks.

Next time you find yourself saying, “I don’t want to speak with customers,” then you might as well just say, “I would love nothing more than to go out of business.” If you don’t want to talk to the boss (i.e., the customer) then don’t expect the boss to “give you a bonus” the next time they’re handing out their hard earned dollars.

Today is list day at AU – List #1

This one is yanked out of From the Publisher Section of CIO Mag (, Sept 2008). Look in the Mirror by Gary Beach. The article is about Mr Beach’s thoughts on what makes a good tech sales person (but the majority of these apply to just about everyone. Both professionally and personally.)

10 – Understand your business
9 – Possess competitive intelligence/knowledge
8 – Provide ongoing support after the sale
7 – Have a strong technical background
6 – Are aware of business trends
5 – Offer solutions to problems rather than meet sales quotas
4 – Provide a high level of service

3 – Are honest and trustworthy
2 – Can think long term
And most important… 1 – Deliver on their promises

Great list. Another classic case of common sense that isn’t common enough.

We’d also like to add one, a tweak on #10 – Understand my business (if you’re gonig to try to sell to me)