Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'm just a farmer

I know it sounds crazy but really, I'm just a farmer. I have the fancy title "Systems Architect" but really, I just plant seeds and water them.

One of the most challenging aspects of my job, especially in such a large Enterprise, is trying to get people to buy in to an idea. I may have the most brilliant idea in the continent, one that will save the company millions of dollars, but if I can't articulate it clearly enough for others to get excited about it and support it, I'd be as successful as nailing tofu to the wall.

So I walk around and plant seeds. I meet with folks and ask lots of questions. I suggest that they might consider this or that. I come back later to discover they've forgotten all about "this and that" yet they still struggle with the same problem I left them with weeks ago. I suggest the solution again (watering) and come back later for more tending to my "garden" of seeds. It's a laborious job but necessary for success.

What I didn't realize is, there are tools that can help me do this. So I'm taking a class. I've been selected as a CAP Coach. A CAP (Change Acceptance Process) coach helps people become emotionally attached to some large change about to happen in the company. I must attend two and a half days of training and pass a test, whereupon I'm a CAP Certified Coach. (I want more respect from you now!) This means I can be farmed out (there's the farmer word again) to coach teams on how to embrace change.

One of the practice sessions we had today is the Elevator Speech. This is where you are able to convey what you are doing in a few words to the CEO as the elevator plummets down to the lobby floor. I hate this sore of thing. I like a quiet elevator.

So we all had to give our spiel to the class today.

After hearing my few words the class congratulated me, said it was the best they'd ever heard, and that they were embarrassed to say the one they had prepared, etc. (I was a little flushed about so much attention from just 90 seconds of words.) Maybe I went over the top.

Of course, I have done this kind of thing on more than one occasion. <grin> In view of how many times I've had to do this very thing with a very unpopular message, It just wasn't fair to compare me with any of them.

My favorite line from my spiel was: "If knowledge moves the mind and emotion moves the heart (I may have plagiarized that from somewhere), then we have to get people emotionally engaged by telling them WHY we are doing the project and help them implement the HOW."

Yeah, maybe it was a bit corny now that I've had time to review it.

"He who praises everybody praises nobody." -Samuel Johnston (1709 - 1784) British lexicographer