Why Wouldn't It Work?

I was reminded earlier today about a meeting I had with a brief IT chief at a FTSE100 company.  The poor fella had the misfortune to arrive immedaitely prior to a tumultuous takeover so didn’t stay long.  Anyway, I needed the requisite number of ‘signatures’ including his, so met to reassure him that what I was proposing had precious little to do with his domain, so sign-off was simple.

After a bunch of amiable front-talk, he pretty much asked just one, solitary question.

“When does it all go wrong?”

I was stopped in my tracks.  No-one had ever (IT, CEO, whatever) asked me what would render success elusive.  It was a good question.  In a flash I felt as if submerged in an uncomfortable interview, the kind when they ask ‘what are your weaknesses’.  You know the textbook answer is to say you’re a perfectionist, but you sense that won’t wash.

I talked about the continual alignment of business goals being vital in my case, but it came as a useful pointer to know how to handle this tricky question, so that you don’t dig a hole for yourself.

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