How do you take a Fortune 10 company and move the majority of their applications to the public cloud? On the most recent episode of the Transform IT Show, I spoke with Lance Weaver, CTO of cloud architecture at GE; he shared with me exactly how they’re approaching this seemingly futile task. And as we discussed his career and approaches, I found six easy steps that I think explain why Lance and GE are going to achieve the impossible.
Start with the Attitude
GE employees adopted a certain attitude when it came to the cloud. They didn’t approach it like it was something to explore and think about. Instead, they viewed the cloud as necessary to ensuring their customers maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. That perspective left no room for failure.
Lance had the courage to lead this project for two reasons: his broad technical experience, and the pushes from his mentor, bosses, and the overall GE culture to step outside his comfort zone. He learned new jobs, new ways to lead people, and interacted with new lines of business. It was his ability to go wide that gave him the confidence he needed to attempt the impossible.
Shape the Culture - Starting with Yourself
Anyone can make this kind of change happen; a company’s culture is really what you choose to make of it. Lance suggested that we all must be willing to challenge ourselves, to step outside our comfort zones, to focus on the mission and strategy of the company and by doing so to create the kind of influence you need to drive meaningful change.
Balance Focus and Adaptability
Get a crystal clear understanding of your goals and the exact problems you’re trying to solve. By focusing on your business goals, you won’t get tied to any one technology — you’ll be willing to constantly reassess your situation to ensure you meet your benchmarks. While focus is critical, it can never be at the expense of adaptability. Always compare where you’re at to where you’re trying to go.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Communication is imperative when it comes to succeeding with any major effort to change an organization. Lance discussed the need to communicate openly early in the process. Usually, executive leadership and surrounding teams want to be a part of the effort — you just need to have open discussions with them and give them a chance.
Stand in Place
Big change takes big risk. Your team will likely be unwilling to do that until they understand the ripple effect when one of those risks doesn’t pay off. When things go wrong, the most important thing you can do as a leader is … nothing. Hold your ground. Take the heat. Don’t shirk your responsibility or blame anyone else. Stand in place.
Lance went on to say that if you have a track record of delivering, if you’ve communicated, if people trust you, then your team will be willing to stand in place with you. And that will be the defining moment. It will be the moment when people understand that this is real and that they can take those big risks with you. And that’s when big change happens. That’s when you can begin to conquer the impossible.
If you haven’t yet seen the full episode of Transform IT with Lance Weaver, you can watch it here. Also, make sure to watch our Google Hangout where we discuss some of our key takeaways and highlights.
And don’t forget to tell us what you think: Comment on the episode page or connect on Twitter by using #TransformIT.