Whenever things don’t work out the way we want them to happen, or others don’t follow our lead, we tend to judge ourselves, others, or our circumstances.
And when the judgment turns into blame, our ability to trust ourselves drastically diminishes. Our brain gets hijacked by negative emotions. Our logic goes out of the window, and our binary brain will begin painting everything with black-and-white.
Anxiety, anger, frustration, and lack of motivation will drain us of the last ounce of energy we’ve left. Our logic turns against us; sabotages us. In such a state, it’s no wonder to think and believe that we’re not good enough, or perhaps others are stronger than we are.
Weakened and in turmoil, we can’t perceive past the obstacles to find workable solutions. So we keep putting more effort into making them see that we’re right.
Just like the quicksand, the harder we try, the less they follow us.
When I became the Group CIO 4 years ago, I was excited that the board chose me. I was confident that I could lead our enterprise IT to the next level.
Having worked in the group for years and led various initiatives and teams, I knew every aspect of our IT landscape. More so, I knew our culture and everybody knew my dedication and resilience. There was no one more qualified than me, or so I thought.
My goal was to modernize our IT and digitalize our products. While the board wanted me to keep up the status quo, managing directors wanted me to be the leader who brings about change and innovation. Employees wanted to see the legacy systems gone and get the modern tools they’ve been craving for years.
And my new team wanted me to put an end to the endless discussions over whether or not the in-house IT is good enough, modern enough, informed enough.
They all knew that there was something WRONG, but no one was stepping up to fix iT!
I was the Group CIO… so I could fix the wrong, RIGHT?
Twelve months on the job, and I’ve been working 7days a week, 12 hours a day, jumping from one meeting to another. Despite valuable insights from my executive consulting partner, and having the authority to make things happen, we were not a bit closer to my goals, MDs’ goals, employees’ goals, or even my teams’ goals, for that matter.
But where did it all go so wrong? I had followed the board’s instructions and tried to deliver the needs of all stakeholders. Furthermore, I studied things a CIO should do, sought wisdom from advisors and experienced CIOs, and did all the work. But the board was not approving my initiatives. MDs kept sabotaging my efforts to bring about the change they wanted, and no one believed that I could change anything.
Why weren’t things happening the way I wanted them to happen?
Frustrated and In the hopes of finding the magic bullet, I signed up for one-on-one sessions with famous CIO advisors and dug deeper into their research results. I wanted to use their wisdom to tackle my challenges and solve all the problems. Cause they hold the key to becoming a successful CIO right?
I was a resourceful IT professional, a technologist by trait but I hadn’t had years of experience as a CIO, so there must be some secrets that I was not aware of.
Almost all of them told me to look for another job. That our organization is beyond hope: “if you stay, you would be just destroying yourself and your reputation.” It was scary to hear that I’m in more trouble than I thought I was. “Abandon all hopes!” That was the verdict.
There was some truth in that. I was not feeling well at all. The constant pressure, endless nagging, lack of appreciation, personal attacks, and my favorite “the subtle cultural biases” were taking their tolls on me. The opposing forces within the organization were in constant friction. People were not speaking their minds, and those who spoke, their message was tainted with anger or desperation, which made it biased to the ears of management.
And I was caught in the middle of that, shipwrecked, holding on tight to a piece of wood with my last ounce of strength, waiting for a rescue boat that would never come.