Tuesday, June 21, 2011

As You Sow …..

… so shall you reap.

So goes the expression.

Financial institutions, government organizations and other corporations have found themselves to be hacked at-will in recent weeks by a couple of different hacker groups.  The organizations who have been hacked claim to be victims of “Internet bullies”, citing they are doing all that they can to prevent loss of data, customer privacy and consumer confidence.

And so I wasn’t  really surprised when a household name in the US banking industry posted a position last week in some of the major job search engines, looking for a senior security expert, someone who would help them architect a stronger, more hack-proof system for their infrastructure.

However, I was really surprised to see the minimum qualifications:

  • Must have graduated high school
  • Should (not “must”) have two years experience in IT

Meanwhile, a retail giant and household name brand (in sports apparel and clothing verticals amongst others) in Canada seeks a corporate strategy advisor to lay the roadmap for the entire organization’s strategy as they make their way through the challenges the world currently faces.

While they require more education than high school, they also preferred a minimum of two years experience.

Billions of dollars and thousands of jobs on the line, in a world that is complex to navigate …. all hanging in the balance with someone who should have at least two years experience.

As someone who spends his day helping people navigate the complex world of strategy and tactics, when I see these organizations making such choices, I realize that it is time to short their stock.

Why?  Because the outcome is extremely predictable and unfortunately for many innocent people, it won’t be pretty.  As the leaders of these organizations sow, so shall their customers and staff reap.

And that is the most unfortunate part of all.

We must do better – we owe it to the generations that follow ours if we are to remain a society of strength and opportunity moving forward.

Don’t we all want the best for our children and the next generation?

I thought so – then it’s time to demand the best from ourselves and others.

For as we sow, surely we will reap.

And I’m not entirely convinced the current harvest is the best we are capable of.

In service and servanthood,


My Musings-in-a-Minute entry for “As You Sow ….” is the same as this one and can be found here.


  1. That is an excellent example of budget over quality, minimum 2 years experience equates to "We don't wish to pay very much" for this needed and vital role.

    Reaping what they sow, organizations world-wide are building strategy to a spreadsheet and the results are always obvious, even when these same organizations say, "We just don't know what happened - we did everything we could."

    Thanks for another quality musing.

  2. Hi Patti,

    Thank you for your kind comments. The more of this stuff I see, the more I get frustrated when people throw their hands up in the air and play "victim". The outcome was predictable by everyone else - maybe they should let someone else make the appropriate decisions. We need more accountability in positions of strategic and tactical importance.

    Take care and create a great day!


  3. I agree with Patty that in many organizations bottom line supersedes sound decision making. Complementing that decision is the increasing misperception in North American culture (particularly regarding information technology) that younger = smarter. Rather than recognizing the value of experience and maturity as a recipe that results in sound decisions and solutions, too often critical IT architecting is entrusted to a junior as their first big project. Then, junior receives a big promotion for their “excellent work”, the executive collects a huge bonus for increasing profit and when the house of cards fall, the consumer/shareholder once again pays for cleaning up the mess left behind.

  4. Thanks for your kind comment, Robyn.

    The hilarious (in a morbid sense) aspect of this is that these collapses are noted on resumes as tremendous successes, causing these individuals to be promoted to their ultimate level of incompetence (the Peter Principle) much faster than typical progression would allow for ... creating a MUCH greater opportunity for greater disaster in the future because they are REALLY out of their league.

    I am blessed to work with MANY wonderful, intelligent, passionate people in my industry. However, too often I run into someone who makes me stop and go "uh oh - disaster in progress". However, no one around them sees it (or wants to hear about it) ... and this ignorance continues until the project fails and is subsequently spun into another success .... and the cycle continues.

    Fortunately this behavior is self-correcting in the long run. Unfortunately, a lot of time, energy and money is consumed and a lot of people get hurt in a learning experience that is unnecessarily complex.

    Occam's Razor holds true in our business world today. People who make the simple complicated are either unqualified or hope that making it complex will hide their own inadequacies. I'm not sure which one carries the day more.

    Take care and create a great day.