Coffee and cakes for breakfast
On the Way of Saint James

Martyn Richard Jones

Brussels, 10th July 2019

As George Burns put it “the key to success is sincerity” and “if you can fake that you’ve got it made.”

He was right, and you don’t need to go any further than the bizarre world of information technology, with its plethora of professional bulllshit artists, to work this one out.

Think of these folk as IT bullshit whisperers.

But let’s not knock them too much, right? After all, faking sincerity, knowledge and experience when it comes to things like Artificial Intelligence; Big Data; Hadoop; Machine Learning; Cloud; Data-Driven Enterprise; Blockchain; Internet of Things; Data Lakes and Hubs; and, Agile@Scale etc. can help to pay someone’s bills, right?

So too is flogging alcopops to kids, fake-degrees to gullible young folk and dodgy-options to bamboozled pensioners.

Market forces, Babushka!

Anyway, CEO’s and senior executives just love listening to these bozos enchanting them with stories, fables and fabulations about the next great thing. They are as vulnerable and receptive to this shit as children fascinated with shapes, lines, forms, textures, colours, light and glitter. In short, they are fascinated by mirror balls. It’s great! It’s the stuff of highly-socialised two-year olds. 

The only trouble is that this nonsense comes with negative side-effects.

So why do these CEOs give these clowns, buffoons and jesters the time of day?

It’s simple. It helps them to take their mind off the really significant business challenges and the elaboration of coherent, realisable and effective strategies.

It’s far easier to proclaim to the world that “we’re going to go full-on big data, AI and Agile at Scale” than to ask “how do we increase our revenues by 10% over the next 18 months and maintain expenditure at the same time?”

CEOs who do this are like political leaders who suddenly acquire an appetite for international travel, soft-ball TV appearances and meeting-up with their peers in unchallenging circumstances. Just leave the difficult thinking for the rest of the C-Suite. And if all of these shiny glittery things blow up in our faces, the CEO can always counter with a “more fool them for having listened to me in the first place”.

Wouldn’t it be great to be the fly on the wall, rather than the one who gets it in the neck?

CEO: “Oh, but you never told me that Agile@Scale could crash our business!” and “Can’t be having folk around me who just know how to say yes all the time!”

We should really make a concerted effort to keep these charlatans away from the CEOs, even if that means taking to social media in number in order to roundly debunk their patently arrant nonsense… otherwise…

Instant Karma awaits us.

And remember folks, mirror balls are for dancehalls, discos and night clubs… not boardrooms.

Many thanks for reading and until the next time,

Martyn Jones

goodstrat.com – The Good Strategy Company