I was clearing out some old files when I came across this HOT AIR BALLOONIST joke, which I obviously must have liked before I got into management. Now – I'm not so sure!
A man in a hot air balloon realised he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."
The woman below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 50 and 60 degrees west longitude."
"You must be in IT," said the balloonist.
"I am," replied the woman. "How did you know?"
"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything you've delayed my trip."
The woman below responded: "You must be in management."
"I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"
"Well," said the woman, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow it's my fault!"
I organised a meeting to discuss all the organisational performance data we collect, how to use it and how it should be reported. We are planning a new performance reporting area in the ICT Intranet, and I want it to be as engaging as possible by, for example, including real time meters. "Odometers" clicking over the numbers of e-mails received and malware trapped, for example.
Unfortunately I had to leave Geoff and Shane to continue interviewing our managers alone, as I had arranged to meet with SOCITM staff, at Russell Square, to discuss the Performance and Urgency Group's decision to appoint consultants to undertake a corporate services review.
In the evening I attended a CIO Connect Forum dinner, at the London Marriott County Hall, on the subject of Shared Services. There was a very slick presentation from Proctor & Gamble, but which left me with many questions, and a presentation from Transport for London, which I felt really energised by.
I won't go into details because these meetings are designed to provide a confidential forum in which participants can speak frankly – but I predict that TfL's IT is really going places.