Reflections on Season 1 of the Transform IT Show

“With who?”

I was on the phone with my partner John and he had just told me that I needed to be on a call with Intel to discuss some partnering possibilities. I was sure that I had misheard him.

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“They want to talk about what?"

It was truly a meeting of the minds. A few people who found that they shared a common view of what was happening in our industry and wondering how we might work together to make a difference - even if was a small one. And from that conversation, the Transform IT Show was born.

I would love to say that we were these great masters of strategy and that we concocted this elaborate strategy that we have been dutifully executing on ever since. But that’s just not what happened. The show started as a simple “what if” question and has been evolving ever since. Once we had conceptualized the basics of the show, I knew that it would be an exciting and fast moving learning experience. And I think that we have gotten better with both the logistics and production side of things. I’m really proud of the show that we have produced.

But even knowing that this was going to be a crash course in a lot of ways, I still don’t think that I was prepared for the real lesson that I would learn by doing the Transform IT Show.

Lessons for IT Leaders. Lessons for Life.

“I just want to thank you. Those were some amazing life lessons you shared. Thank you.”

We had just finished shooting the first episode of the show and as I was busy trying to figure out how to unplug my mic, the film crew had walked up to Charles Lee and had expressed their thanks.

I think that it was at that moment that I realized that this show might be something special. While I was focused on the lessons that I hoped our guests could share with the up and coming future IT leaders, the reality is that the lessons that we were sharing were not all that specific to IT. As it turns out, the keys to succeeding in IT are not that different than the keys to succeeding in life.

This pattern repeated. In each episode, the conversation seemed to continually drift back to these universal truths. And almost inevitably, the film crews would take a moment to thank the guest they had just filmed for the sage advice they had just received.

Universal Truths

Being that we have both reached the end of Season 1 and the end of the year, it seemed appropriate to reflect on the amazing conversations that we had through the seven episodes of season 1. As I did, several themes seemed to emerge. I came to see them as “universal truths” that are critical to future IT leaders - but are really applicable to just about everybody.

I believe it is the fact that this is what we’re talking about - the essence of what it means to be a leader, the core of what it takes to have impact - that has made the show such a great, early success. And while every guest’s story was different (sometimes wildly different!), these “universal truths” emerged:

    • Be willing to say “yes” and to take the risk.
    • Know yourself, who you are, what you want to achieve - and then be true to that vision of yourself.
    • Believe in and invest in people, build relationships and don’t underestimate the human side of the equation (what Frank Wander called the “Human Infrastructure”).
    • Continually expand your perspective and world view.
    • Focus on the value of every service you provide and every interaction you participate in.

As I have gone back and watched each show, I was struck by both how different each interview was - and yet, how similar they were in so many ways. Whether we were talking to Ray Noonan about how he broke down barriers to create a culture of collaboration, to Patty Hatter about her “curvy path” that has given her the perspective to bring business and IT together or to James Jorasch and Rita J. King about the “Imagination Age” and how they just think a bit differently, these same themes emerged time and time again.

Our Journey Continues

To say that I’ve had an amazing time hosting the Transform IT Show would be a gross understatement. It has been such a privilege to share these stories with you and to ensure that they have the opportunity to be heard. That’s why I’m so excited that we have decided to keep it going.Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 2.22.05 PM.png

Starting in February of 2015, we will be back with “Season 2” of the show. We’re already hard at work lining up our next wave of business executives, IT executives, futurists and industry wave makers. And I think that you’re going to be just as enthralled by what they have to share.

But I also know that there are a lot of amazing people out there doing some pretty amazing things - that I know nothing about. If you know someone like that and believe that they have an interesting story to share, would you tell me about them? We hope to bring the most challenging and inspiring stories to you in the next season of the Transform IT show and beyond. So please put us in touch with any one who you think might be a great future guest.

Well, that’s it for now. It’s been fun and I can’t wait to get Season 2 “on the air” and share the next round of amazing stories with you.

In the meantime, make sure that you tune in to our two live Google Hangouts that we’ll be holding on January 6th and January 20th. I’ll be discussing some of the Season 1 highlights and some of these themes with Chris Peters of Intel and some special guests. It’s going to be a lot of fun!