In the exciting finale of “Myth Busters” on the “Status Go” podcast, host Jeff Ton and a panel of industry experts debunk common myths about the cloud. With engaging storytelling and real-world examples, they challenge the misconceptions that the cloud is only for large companies, too expensive, not secure, or unreliable. Additionally, they explore the complexities of migration and how to overcome biases and resistance to change. If you’re curious about the truth behind cloud technology and want to discover how it can drive value and innovation in your organization, this episode is a must-listen. Get ready to let go of outdated notions and embrace the power of the cloud!
In the finale episode of Status Go, host Jeff Ton dives deep into the world of technology, focusing on the topic of cloud computing. Together with a panel of expert guests, they bust common myths surrounding the cloud, while shedding light on its benefits and debunking preconceived notions.
The discussion begins by emphasizing the importance of adapting leadership styles to different individuals and situations. The panel highlights the significance of being self-aware, authentic, and vulnerable as a leader. Sharing personal experiences, they explore how leadership styles can shape organizational dynamics and the value chain.
Moving on to the myths surrounding the cloud, the panel dismantles the belief that it is exclusive to large companies or is prohibitively expensive. They emphasize that cloud technology is not only affordable but also secure and reliable. By dispelling these misconceptions, they challenge the resistance to cloud migration in organizations.
Throughout the episode, the importance of education and overcoming biases is highlighted. The panel encourages viewers to start small by identifying a specific use case to trial the cloud and advises finding trusted partners to navigate complex technological landscapes.
Beyond the cloud discussion, the episode touches on the challenges faced by IT leaders in articulating the value of technology initiatives, often resulting in resistance to change. The panel stresses the significance of effective communication and involving key stakeholders early on to ensure project success.
The episode also delves into the realm of cybersecurity, emphasizing the need for multiple layers of defense and employee training to combat evolving threats. The panel shares real-world examples where social engineering exploits were used to gain unauthorized access, underscoring the importance of user awareness.
Bringing the episode to a thoughtful close, the host reflects on the power of questioning decisions, breaking out of the status quo, and overcoming bias. The episode resonates with technology enthusiasts by providing valuable insights into cloud computing, leadership, and the potential of embracing change in the tech landscape.
Intriguing, informative, and accessible, this episode of the Status Go podcast is an essential listen for anyone interested in technology, leadership development, and debunking myths. It challenges long-held beliefs, promotes technological progress, and inspires leaders to propel their organizations into the future.
[00:00:22]: Myth Busters Crossover Episode – Digital Dialogue and Status Go
[00:03:27]: Introducing Lisa Cavanaugh
[00:04:11]: Introducing Rob Spitzer
[00:04:51]: Introducing Braden Pitts
[00:05:34]: Insights into Myth Busting
[00:07:24]: Costs? What about Value?
[00:10:51]: Why is Myth Busting So Hard?
[00:18:39]: Confessions of a Myth Buster I
[00:22:24]: Confessions of a Myth Buster II
[00:25:08]: Confessions of a Myth Buster III
[00:28:16]: Confessions of a Myth Buster IV
[00:30:05]: Comments from Viewers
[00:35:15]: AQAL Matrix of Change
[00:38:51]: Current Myths in Cyber Security
[00:41:23]: Current Myths Faced by MSPs
[00:43:57]: Current Myths in Leadership
[00:47:40]: Start Busting Myths By…
[00:50:03]: One Final Action, Thank You, and Close
Voice Over – Ben Miller [00:00:05]:
Technology is transforming how we think, how we lead, and how we win. From InterVision, this is Status Go, the show helping IT leaders move beyond the status quo, master their craft, and propel their IT vision.
Jeff Ton [00:00:22]:
Hello, and welcome to a special crossover episode of Digital Dialogue and the Status Go podcast. This is going to be a great conversation. It probably won’t be as cool as when Law and Order does a crossover episode or NCIS does it, but we’re going to do a LinkedIn Live today, and then this will air on the Status Go podcast next Monday. I’m Jeff Ton. I’m a fellow with the Institute for Digital Transformation, and I’m the host of the Status Go Podcast. Our podcast is published by InterVision Systems, which is also sponsoring this Digital Dialogue today.
Over the last five months, I’ve had the pleasure of hosting a recurring series on Status Go. In May, we launched Myth Busters: Cloud, Innovation, and Security, a series of interviews aimed at busting some of the common myths in technology today.
Over these five myths, sorry…Over these five months, we have heard from IT leaders and InterVision experts as they dove deep into the myth that the cloud is only for large companies, that the cloud is too expensive, the cloud is not secure, migration is too complicated, and too costly, and the cloud is not reliable. As we look back on those conversations, a common thread emerged. We found that many times, our peers and sometimes our own teams were hanging on to preconceived notions and outdated information and just playing urban legends. And it had them stuck.
Today on this Digital Dialogue, I am joined by Braden Pitts, the VP of It for MJ Insurance, Rob Spitzer, the director of Microsoft Cloud Services for InterVision, and our special guest, Lisa Cavanaugh, the Global Markets Chief of Staff for the Center for Creative Leadership. Together, we’re going to talk about what it takes to be a Myth Buster in your organization.
As our guests come on camera, I want to remind those of you viewing this live that we would love for this to be interactive. Please share your thoughts and questions in the LinkedIn chat. If you are listening to this as a recording on the Status Go podcast, visit us at the Status Go podcast group on LinkedIn and join in the conversation.
With that…Braden, Rob, and Lisa, welcome to Digital Dialogue and Status Go!
Rob Spitzer [00:03:00]:
Braden Pitts [00:03:03]:
Hey, Jeff, thanks for having us.
Lisa Cavanaugh [00:03:04]:
Jeff Ton [00:03:05]:
It is fabulous to have you all on the program. What I want to start with is have you each briefly introduce yourself to the audience. I kind of used your title and the company you’re with, but just give us a little brief update on who you are, where you’re from, and what you’re up to these days.
So, Lisa, why don’t we start with you?
Lisa Cavanaugh [00:03:27]:
Great. Hi, everyone. I’m Lisa Cavanaugh. I started my career in management consulting, believe it or not, doing global technology implementations then, I moved to the oil and gas industry, where I held leadership roles in strategy, business development, health, safety and environment, and learning and development. I’m now dual hatting at the Center for Creative Leadership as the Global Markets Chief of Staff, which Jeff mentioned, but also as the interim VP of Sales for the Americas. Previously, I was a managing director for our flagship campus in Greensboro, North Carolina, and later at our Colorado Springs campus. I’m delighted to be here. Thanks for having me.
Jeff Ton [00:04:04]:
Thank you, Lisa. Really appreciate you joining in this conversation today.
Hey Rob, how about you go next?
Rob Spitzer [00:04:11]:
Sure, yeah. Hi, I’m Rob Spitzer. I’m the director of Microsoft Cloud Services at InterVision. I’ve been here for 18 years, really focused on Microsoft technologies during that time. Prior to InterVision, I worked for Newport News Shipbuilding. Also, in it also focused on Microsoft services. So, I’ve gotten to watch Microsoft go from on-premises to the cloud from both a customer and a consultant side of the fence.
Jeff Ton [00:04:42]:
Awesome. Thanks, Rob, and appreciate you joining in today as well. Hey, Braden, I saw your note, man. You’ve been promoted. Congrats.
Braden Pitts [00:04:51]:
Yeah, thank you. Appreciate that.
Jeff Ton [00:04:52]:
Enterprise technology. MJ. So, congratulations on that. Do you want to share a little bit about your story?
Braden Pitts [00:04:59]:
Yeah, thanks for having me. So Braden Pitts, senior Vice President of Enterprise Technology at MJ. I’ve been in the industry for a little over a decade now, primarily in small business role, and I started as an engineer on the front lines, did my time in the help desk answering printer tickets and whatnot, and then kind of worked my way up. So, more recently, last five years or so, I’ve been in more of a people leader role. And like you mentioned, I was just promoted to SVP at MJ.
Jeff Ton [00:05:34]:
That’s exciting. And thanks for not only being on the Myth Busters series, Braden, but thanks for jumping in on this conversation as well.
Rob, I want to start with you. During the Myth Buster series, you were on, I think, one of the first episodes that we did, busting the myth that the cloud is only for large companies. In your experience, what have you found is the best way to help someone see the light, so to speak?
Rob Spitzer [00:06:09]:
The best approach is to always start small. Right. I see a lot of customers, whether we’re talking large or small, organizations that try to get their hands around the entire cloud journey in one shot. And one of the beauties of the cloud is you don’t have to do that. You can find a particular pain point, do a small proof of concept or a small project around whatever that particular pain point is and go from there.
So, for instance, during COVID a lot of folks were trying to figure out, how do we get access? Historically, file shares and phone systems weren’t a problem. They just lived in the office. How do we get access to those things, though? Once everybody went home, those became all of a sudden pain points and things we could kind of grasp onto and become those first projects.
It really is a journey. It’s not one of those things you’re going to do in just one move. So just find that pain point, find that small way in. Work through there. I think we mentioned on the podcast, cybersecurity is another big place. We see folks trying to come in, trying to meet cyber insurance requirements, things like that.
Jeff Ton [00:07:24]:
I think that’s great advice when you think about any change, you have to start. You have to start somewhere. You have to take those initial steps, those baby steps. So, start small. Braden, I want to pull you into the conversation here. When you and I talked several months ago on the podcast, I loved how you flipped the myth on its head. We were talking about the cloud is too expensive, and what you did was focus more on the value side, the benefits, and access to enterprise-grade technology at a fraction of the cost while at the same time you focused on managing costs.
So, thinking back on your career, where did you learn that approach of taking the value first and still managing the things that need to be managed in the background?
Braden Pitts [00:08:18]:
Yeah, so I’ll give a little bit of credit to the ITIL methodology and, specifically the revamped ITIL V 4 that focuses more on the value chain for the business. A lot of organizations look at their technology stack or their technology department as an expense center, and it’s not traditionally valued as a value driver for the organization.
So, the first is positioning. Right? So, what is it that we can do from a technology perspective that drives the value chain for the business? And I think the immediate jump is typically people look directly at the customer value chain, and they say, okay, well, what can it do to increase revenue from a customer or whatever? And that’s great. That should probably be your primary focus. But there are internal value chains, too, that you can use to decrease overhead or decrease expenses for internal teams, finance, accounting, HR, or whatever. As we continue to scale out organizations, there’s a level of overhead that comes with the scale of those organizations.
So, if you can use it as a force multiplier, it helps reduce those cost centers for your shared services. So as far as where I learned, I probably think I had the benefit of coming up in my technology career in small business, where you’re kind of fighting for every dollar every day, and so you’re trying to get creative and figure out how can I do the same stuff the big guys are doing, but do it on a budget and do it quickly. As a small business, how do I have that same agility that a large enterprise has because they have deep pockets and unlimited people resources?
So, that’s where I started exploring cloud technology. And what you were saying a minute ago about the economy of scale. It’s like I can go to the cloud and be operational within a day’s time frame with some idea or some strategy that would have taken weeks or months or longer if I were to try and build it on-premises and acquire the same technology and the same leverage.
So, to call back to what Rob was just saying a minute ago, you got to start with that small use case and think, okay, I have this specific pain point right now. I could go acquire the technology and put it in place, and it might take me six months to do that. But I could also go to AWS or Azure and spin up that specific use case and trial run it and say, hey, does this fit? And then, where can I bring the rest of it in?
Jeff Ton [00:10:51]:
Yeah. And I love how it ties back to what Rob was saying about starting small, taking those incremental first steps, but also the small company. Right. And how does a small company, sometimes you need to use that to your advantage because you can be a little more agile than the big organizations out there.
Now, Lisa, before I pull you into the conversation, I have to tell a little bit of a story about how you and I met. And it actually ties back to another thing that Rob mentioned in the days of the Pandemic when people were scrambling to do things. I know this will be a huge surprise to people who are listening, but I’m a fan of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
In fact, I was hired several years ago to develop a leadership development program based on the story of Lewis and Clark, along with three other folks, and we were to launch in May 2020. Not a great time to launch an in-person leadership development program, so we had to pivot. But at the same time that we’re pivoting, and at the same time, all this is going on, Lisa joined the company during the Pandemic when she couldn’t even go into the office. And together, we helped build this program about leadership development. Lisa was instrumental in helping us launch that for her previous employer, FCCS Consulting which puts that on.
But when you uncover and unpack some of the leadership lessons that we go into in that, we call it a new way forward, which is really what we’re talking about here. Right, Lisa? We’re talking about busting a myth, trying to forge a new way forward in our leadership and in our companies. With your background and now your work with CCL, what’s the science behind that? What makes it so tough to do this?
Lisa Cavanaugh [00:12:59]:
Yeah. So, before I start talking about the multiple factors that are at play, I do have to warn you all that Jeff’s affection for the Lewis and Clark expedition is contagious. So, you might catch it; just be aware. And it is a really powerful backdrop because of all of the uncertainty and the unknowns that they were facing as they did their expedition.
But when we think about that resistance to change, there are really quite a few factors at play. And I realized as I was preparing for this that we could take days on this. So, I will try to keep my comments brief. But what underlies a lot of it is fear and anxiety, right? Whether it’s fear of the discomfort, fear of failure, fear of loss of control, or even a threat to your own identity, if things are changing so much that you have to let go of some parts of yourself.
When I think about it, I really think about it in three buckets. One is around personality factors. So, I won’t bore you with all the details behind the Big Five personality model and all of that, but I’m going to call out three different factors that that model talks about. One is openness. And so, folks who have openness like to try new things. They get excited by being outside of the box and with fewer rules in place. So, that actually encourages comfort with change. But there’s another side of the spectrum where you’re maybe a little bit more cautious, or you want more consistency, which might make you a little bit more resistant to change.
Another is conscientiousness. So, conscientiousness, when it shows up in people’s personalities, it’s a desire to be really careful, diligent, and disciplined. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum, you might be extravagant and maybe a little bit careless. And so, change seems like a fun party to go play at. But if you’re high on conscientiousness, it can make you really uncomfortable to be put in that situation where things are changing.
Last on personality is neuroticism and neuroticism. Folks who are high on neuroticism tend to have more of the negative emotions showing up. So, pessimism, anxiety, and fear can show up insecurity, and those can also make you more nervous about change than maybe if you were on the opposite end of that spectrum where you’re very resilient and confident and can tackle anything, right?
So that’s the personality component that plays a big role. Next, I would say mindsets have a huge role to play. So, if you’re coming at the world with a growth mindset, where you believe that your intelligence, your capabilities can be easily expanded versus them being fixed traits that aren’t unchangeable, it’s easier to embrace change. Same with an innovative mindset or curious mindset, where you’re really open to the new and the exciting, and you tend to flourish in those environments, so you tend to be a little bit change friendlier.
There are some mindsets, however, that can be pretty challenging when you’re looking at change. One is if you have a victim mindset. So, this is all happening to me, and I don’t have any empowerment for myself in it. I don’t own it. I can’t control it.
If you have a scarcity mindset. So, if we do this, you’re taking something away from me because there’s a fixed amount of resources available, or if you have a pessimistic or negative mindset where everything’s bad and scary and no, thank you very much. So those are the mindsets that might come into play. And then last but not least are biases.
And I’m so glad I have biases on my list, because Jeff and Braden, as you were talking about framing the cloud, kind of flipping it on its head, instead of talking about the cost or the investment in it. Let’s talk about what the benefits are. That’s a framing bias.
And how we frame things has a huge impact on how we view them in the future. So, we tend to stick with that framing. So, when you frame things as, here’s the benefit, there’s a win in that just in the way you framed it. But some other biases that can play a big role. There’s a loss aversion bias which says I would rather keep things exactly as they are, even if doing something different would mean I would get something better because I’m comfortable with the way they are, and I don’t want to lose what I have. Losing what I have is bad.
There’s a kind of adjacent bias that’s called the status quo bias, and that’s I’m going to keep state of affairs exactly as they are. I don’t need anybody changing it; even if that change would accrue me benefit over the long term, I still just want to keep what I have because I know what I have, and I’m comfortable with what I have.
The last one that I’ll highlight is confirmation bias. And by the way, all of us have some form of bias. They’re shorthand for us; they actually help us in our lives, but we need to be mindful of them. Confirmation bias is one that many people are familiar with. And basically, what that says is once you’ve made up your mind, you will pay more attention to evidence that supports your point of view than challenges your point of view. So that’s a risk. When we have that confirmation bias, it looks like everybody agrees with us. All the data tells us that we’re right, when in fact, there may be other data out there we’ve just put on blinders related to that data.
So that’s the biases. And there are many more biases and mindsets and personality factors than what we have time to touch on here. But being mindful of how our own thinking is coming into play can be really helpful. And what I would say is that with intention, you can overcome any of these, right? Be a critical thinker, be thoughtful, reframe the change instead of having it be a scary thing. Think of it as a developmental opportunity, that sort of thing. So, I’ll stop there because otherwise, I could take up the entire time.
Jeff Ton [00:18:39]:
I love that, Lisa because so much of what you talked about there applies to some of the reasons why we were all drawn to information technology as a profession in the first place, right? We’re conscientious, we want to do things to support and keep things steady. And then, of course, when you mentioned the status quo bias, you’re speaking my love language there because that’s why the podcast is called the Status Go Podcast. It’s for people, the professionals that want to break out of the status quo, break through that bias.
So that was all awesome. Before I put you guys on the spot have you talk about a time when maybe you had a difficulty coming up with a reason to change and driving change forward. I want to go back in my own career and talk about a time when I had a real difficult time. I had a bias. And so, I started, I was chief information officer for Goodwill Industries of Central and Southern Indiana here in Indianapolis.
And so I came into that organization, and man, I was Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft on everything. And I found out that in our high schools…Goodwill here owns and operates several high schools. They were using Google. Why would you use Google? Why would you teach these students Google when they go out in the workplace they’re going to be using Microsoft! And I was, man, I had that bias of all things Microsoft. And Lisa, like you were know that confirmation bias you’d hear in the news about this problem with Google or that problem, and it’s like, see, I told you, I told you. And it really took. I had a good friend of mine who was actually a Google consultant, he had set up a practice group, his own company pushing Google. So, Brett Hayes, if you’re listening man, here’s our story.
And he convinced me to go to a Google roadshow that they were putting on at the convention center here in Indianapolis. And one of the segments, one of the guys that was up there on stage talking, was talking about their cybersecurity program at Google. And he got pretty much into the weeds on some of the technical aspects of it. But what really struck me was when he talked about the amount of money that Google would spend on cybersecurity. My budget was about $25. Not really; it was a little bit more than that. But they would spend billions on security with a “b”.
And Google’s now talking to me over here because I said her name too know,
That got me at least opening my eyes, right? It showed me a different viewpoint. It’s like we really need to look at that.
Now, I’d love for each of you to chime in about a time in your career when you held a myth about something and what was it that helped you get past it? What got you through that got you to the other side of that myth? And I’m not going to call on anyone unless you don’t answer, and then I’ll pick on you. So just one of the three of you chime in on this and share your story, come clean.
Rob Spitzer [00:22:24]:
I can go ahead and start. For me, it’s not far away from what we’ve been talking about here. So, I started in IT in the 90s, around 2005, I think is when Microsoft got into Office 365 at that time was working as a consultant and had made a pretty good career of migrating customers from versions of Exchange. Right. In that decade, some customers we migrated up to three times. Right. It’s a nice little gig taking a customer from one version to the next. You get to know them real well, you get to know their environment really well.
Microsoft came to us and said, hey, there’s this cloud thing coming, you should jump on board. And we’re looking at it and we’re going to do one more migration and then we’re done. This doesn’t feel like a good business to get into. I don’t like that. I don’t like that thing turns into confirmation bias almost immediately. Right. So, what did I do? I started to find things that kind of proved why this was a bad idea. Forget all the good stuff.
Oh, there was an outage that occurred, or there was a breach that happened. Look, there’s this problem, we shouldn’t use this thing. What occurred over time is what happened to every organization. There was no avoiding this change that was occurring. And so, after you kind of get into the cloud world, you realize not only is it a better model, but hey, you’re not going to lose your job over this. For me, that was a big fear, and to be honest, that was a helpful fear for me to run into because I’d seen a lot of customers have this same problem, right? A lot of the conversations we have where people are cloud averse, it’s coming from the place of fear. I don’t want to move, I don’t want to lose my job.
It’s really comfortable the way it is. I have yet to meet somebody who has lost their job in a cloud move. It may change your job, but in most cases, it’s been for the better. It gets most of us out of the things we didn’t like to do anyway, right? The day-to-day patching and backups and stuff like that. And we kind of get into the more business-focused aspects of the job. That was kind of my own kind of myth-busting I had to do in my own journey into the cloud.
Braden Pitts [00:25:08]:
Yeah. So, kind of in that same light, I was thinking back on my experience that probably launched me into a passion for cybersecurity that I didn’t realize until just now was in the mid two thousand and tens. I was working for a software company here in Indianapolis, and I was a support engineer and the team that I worked on supported some of our largest customers. So, really large complex environments. We were in the voice space. So, everything we did was extremely time-sensitive. We supported everything from insurance companies to 911 call centers. So, voice quality was extremely important to us.
And somebody had come along one day and suggested this product called Splunk, which they just got acquired by Cisco, but they suggested we’re going to start pulling the logs from these servers with Splunk. And our whole team was kind of just terrified of the performance implications because you’re going to install this agent, and you’re going to start streaming all these logs off the machines. And we looked at it as not a threat to our jobs, but as a threat to our sanity in our day-to-day because it’s going to create all these problems. We’re going to get all these tickets, and the customers are going to be upset and all this, right?
I remember the person that was kind of leading the project or pushing the idea was extremely passionate about what he was talking about. He was really convicted that this was a way forward for us. And I remember thinking to myself, like, ultimately, I believe everyone’s coming to work every day trying to do the right thing that helps us and helps them and helps the customer. And so, I don’t think he’s doing something that’s going to negatively impact me, at least not purposely, right?
So, I sat down, and I built out a test environment and stood this stuff up, and I said, okay, let me just look at this and see how it works and gain an understanding of what it is that’s going on before I just make a decision that this is bad and I’m not going to do it. Well, ultimately, we decided to move forward with that project, and at the time, I probably had no idea, but it ended up leading to a couple of different positions within that same company where at one point we had created a role that was called the Continual Service Improvement Architect.
And that’s based around the ITIL philosophy of continual service improvement. And it was based around the idea of proactively catching some of these issues that could occur and servicing the customer before they became an outage-related incident for the customer. And that dove me further. I ended up in a role at a Splunk service provider and got more heavily involved in cybersecurity and kept digging and kept learning, right?
So, to me that’s not something I ever put together until I was just standing here talking to you guys. But that’s probably the best example I can give of overcoming something like that.
Jeff Ton [00:28:11]:
Excellent. Hey, thanks for sharing that, Braden. I appreciate that!
All right, Lisa?
Lisa Cavanaugh [00:28:16]:
So, I’m actually going to riff a little bit off of Braden’s kind of where he landed. Mine will not be a technology example. I’ve been away from that world for a little bit too long. But I grew up in a family where my father spent probably 20 or 30 years with the same company in a very similar job from the day that he started; he moved up, but he was essentially in that same stream of work.
And so when I started my career, if you’ll recall from my bio, I’ve had a few different jobs in a few different industries with a few different functions and titles. So, one of the myths that I really had to overcome was that the path to success is specialization or consistency. You stay with one company for the entirety of your career. You stay in one field for the entirety of your career.
My intent is not to dismiss that because I think there’s power in being able to do that. But where I found my success is almost on the polar opposite of that. Where my first master’s degree was in library and Information Science, my second master’s degree is in industrial organizational psychology. I had more majors than I can account when I was in college. I worked for more companies than I can count. And learning that lesson that not being a specialist is actually okay because when wicked problems come along that don’t have clear solutions, I have a different tool set that I can draw from across all of those different functions and experiences that is different than the tool set that a specialist has. Now, there are some problems that a specialist is absolutely going to be the right person to solve it.
But there are other kinds of more complex problems that I’m better suited to solve because of the approach that I’ve taken in my career. Despite the fact that I’ve occasionally had those doubts to say maybe I should have specialized. So that’s my myth that I overcame. And even if I wanted to be a specialist, I don’t think I have it in me.
I like that, Lisa, because so many times we do, we question decisions that we’ve made even after we’ve moved forward.
And we’ve had some great comments coming in from our viewers today that, first of all, this feels like a therapy show now, right? What’s a myth, and how did you overcome it? Because we’ve had some confessions from both Alan and Ed about Novell networking, which is really kind of going back in a time machine there. So that’s been interesting.
And Michael posted a couple of comments that I would love to get Braden Rob, I know we lost Lisa here for a minute, but she’ll be back. Michael posted a little bit ago, “if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”
I thought that was a great comment. And then his second one was, “You have to tell people what’s in it for me,” right? So, when you think about those two comments, what jumps to mind for either one of you?
Braden Pitts [00:31:24]:
I will tell you right now that the comment about not being able to articulate what’s in it for me is probably the number one threat to every IT leader in the industry right now. Just very candidly speaking, I think most IT folks are engineering-minded, and oftentimes, they don’t have the…they’re not salespeople, they’re not going to try to pitch their project as the next sliced bread or whatever, but you’ve got to be able to bring the people along for the ride and explain why we’re doing something.
I see too many failed projects where we’ve went out and we said, we are moving to this platform on this date, have a nice day. And it creates this huge rift in the organization, and there’s fear and uncertainty and doubt and all these things. But if we come in front of the organization and we say, hey, we’re going to make a migration from this platform to this platform for these reasons, and this is what we hope to achieve for you. In doing that, I almost never get pushback on it. We get questions, but we don’t get the steadfast pushback. And an entrenched mindset of “we’re not going to change!”
They say, oh, I want to change because this is going to be cool, it’s going to be good for me.
Rob Spitzer [00:32:41]:
Yeah, I’ve seen similar. Probably one of the biggest disaster projects I’ve ever been involved in was a cloud voice project where it was totally driven by the IT folks. They had all sorts of good reasons they wanted to do this, but they never got any key stakeholders involved in the project early on. And so, we got to the point where we had spec’ed everything out, got it all planned, we’re starting to roll everything out.
They finally brought in the key stakeholders, and one was the person who handled the front desk. And her first question is, where is my console with the 50 buttons on it? And they’re like, well, it’s cloud, and it’s all digital, it’s all going to be on your computer screen. “No, you’re going to take that console from my cold, dead hands.” And she basically gave the company an ultimatum: it’s me or this. And the company decided, we really like her. We’re going to put this on the back burner.
If we had just had her involved early on, where she could have seen the benefits and wasn’t just being here’s the change we’re forcing on you without any sort of kind of, here’s what’s in it for you? The outcome would have probably been totally different.
Lisa Cavanaugh [00:33:58]:
If I could throw a penny in on this one. One of the things that we find that causes people to be resistant to change is they feel like all of the work that they’ve done for their entire career is suddenly devalued or no longer important or no longer relevant to the organization. And so, taking those steps kind of like what you were talking about, Rob, to honor the past, honor the traditions, honor the accomplishments of what’s come to date to help assist with the transition to a new way of being. And a new way of thinking can be a really powerful way to bring people along who may otherwise be resistant to the change because they’re framing it in their heads as “everything I’ve ever done is no good.” But if you can reframe it, for them to say what’s been done was incredibly valuable and powerful, and now we’re building upon that, that’s a very different framing and a really powerful way to bring people along a journey.
Rob Spitzer [00:34:55]:
And it is tough for IT people, right? Because you said we’re engineering minded. We deal with buttons and widgets and stuff, and “people” is hard. Dealing with people gets to be hard. And so, it is tough for us to kind of back up sometimes and remember, there are real people involved in these decisions.
Jeff Ton [00:35:15]:
I love the comment that’s on the screen right now from Patty. “When a change is made, we impact people’s work. When we impact how people do their work without any preparation, we tell them their input doesn’t matter.” I love that because it is so true.
One of the things…and I’ll talk to Lewis and Clark again if you’ll bear with me, one of the things we teach in that program is that concept of the current way of being, a new way of being. How do you really affect change? And one of the things that you find is you have to have people take action in each of four quadrants. So, if you think of a matrix, we all know matrix, right? The four quadrants, you’re an IT professional, you know, the Gartner magic quadrant and all that kind of stuff, right? So think that.
So, think in the upper left is insights within yourself. So, think self-reflection. You’ve got to get people thinking about themselves and how they interact with work and that, and they need to think. You can’t tell them how to think. They have to think about how they think, if that makes sense.
In the upper right quadrant, it’s actions with accountability. So, you have to give them things to go do and then hold them accountable for doing that. Go learn about the cloud. Go learn about Cisco networking. Go learn about leadership, and then come back and tell me about it.
The lower left quadrant is discussion with others, like we’re doing right here. You’ve got to give people the platform or the time to talk with their peers about the change. Hey, what do you think about that, Rob? Lisa? Can you believe they’re doing that? Some of that is complaining, right? But they need to get that out because you never know. Braden might pop in and say, “well, hey, Lisa, have you ever thought about this?” Right? So you got to give them that opportunity.
And then the lower right is kind of what we’ve been talking about, their place in the system. Right? We’re all part of a larger system within our organization, and everyone has to understand their role. Yes, as Michael said, what’s in it for them, but also, what’s their role today and what’s their role tomorrow? How’s that going to change, and how is that going to morph?
So, you’ve got to be focusing on all four of those quadrants to really impact change.
Now, one of the other things that we talk about in that Lewis and Clark program is when you think about vision and what it takes to be a visionary leader. And I think as people that view this podcast and are on this podcast, we want to move our organizations forward. We talk about challenging the dominant narrative. And so, we’ll put it in terms of myth-busting. But I’m going to ask each of you, what’s the dominant narrative or what’s the myth in your area that needs to be busted today?
So, Braden, I’m going to start with you. And I know you just got a new certification in cybersecurity. So, what’s a myth about cybersecurity that is just ripe to blow up and bust today?
Braden Pitts [00:38:51]:
There’s a few to pick from, probably, but I think the overarching is probably if you think you’re fine, you’re not. Not to make people sleepless at night, but there are a couple probably foundational technology myths that are there right now. The first is that if you have multifactor authentication, you’re good by itself. We do multifactor. No one can ever get into our account. We can’t have any problems. That’s just not true. There are very complex spear phishing attacks that are out there today.
There are MFA code attacks that are out there today to trick users into giving up their codes. Every new step we put into the defense in depth is going to find a circumvention and the bad guys are going to just find a new way to attack it. Right?
The same is true with Antivirus versus EDR. There was a big push, and please believe me, you should move from traditional AV to EDR, but there’s a lot of people that are getting caught in the sales pitch of different EDR platforms that, “Hey, just install our EDR platform and you’ll never have a ransomware attack ever again.” And that’s not true either. It’s going to go a long way in helping prevent it, but they’re always going to find another way to get around it.
And then the last piece, and we’re seeing this right now with what we know about the attack on MGM, is that user training doesn’t matter, and that’s not true at all. Your users in your organization are ultimately probably the weakest link in the chain, not because they’re bad people. Not because they’re stupid, not because of anything like that. It’s because they’re trying to do their job. And so, when they get an urgent text message from someone that purports to be their CEO or someone that is a locked-out admin asking for a reset, they’re trying to do their job and do what’s right for the organization, and they’re going to go unlock that account.
As we saw with the MGM attack, all it takes is one person getting looked up on LinkedIn to go to the Help desk to use that name to get an admin account reset, and then they’re in the environment. Did they have to bypass MFA to do that? No, they used your person to do that. Did they have to bypass EDR to do that? No, they walked right in the front door because someone maybe lacked training or lacked that oversight. So those are probably the three biggest is it’s a layer of defense? You have to do defense in depth. You can’t just rely on one product to save the day for everything.
Jeff Ton [00:41:23]:
Yeah, I love that, Braden. And it reminds me of a conversation that we had on the Status Go podcast with author George Finney. He wrote the Zero Trust Project…and I think he even has T-shirts that say this. “People are not the weakest link, they’re the only link.” Right? You’ve got to focus on the people.
Rob, you talk with a lot of InterVision clients and prospects probably every day. What’s a myth that you hear out there that we haven’t talked about yet? We address those five, but what’s one that you hear still today?
Rob Spitzer [00:42:04]:
Probably the biggest one I run into daily is the “Cloud is Inflexible.” Right? And it’s not ever worded that way. It’s really worded from the perspective of, well, I know everybody’s moving to Office 365 or Azure or whatever. Pick your favorite flavor. But I don’t think we can because we have HIPAA compliance requirements or Ediscovery, or we’ve got to keep data forever. There’s always something thrown out as we’re unique, and that’s true. However, usually, there’s other people in the same boat. Right?
You may have a different combination of unique things, but your ten unique things probably individually aren’t unique. You’re just kind of packaging them up a little bit differently. So that’s been a big one we’ve run into, is just kind of working through that. The good news is, and kind of putting a plug in for us for a minute, we’re kind of like those Farmers Insurance commercials where they say we’ve seen a thing or two. That’s kind of us. Right?
Over the years, we’ve worked with a lot of customers. We’ve run into a lot of those unique situations. We can normally kind of tell you what other not only, here’s a way we might be able to work around it, but yeah, here’s how others are actually doing this. Right? And I think what a lot of folks realize in that conversation is a couple of things. One, we’re not as unique as we think we are. But two, this stuff’s a lot more mature than I think we give it credit for. Right? We’re not in year number one of cloud. We’re into the second decade of it at this point in time.
So, a lot of those situations have been dealt with.
Jeff Ton [00:43:57]:
Yeah, I think that’s right. I think everybody kind of thinks they’re special. We all like to think they are special, but our shops are probably more similar than they are different in a lot of cases.
Lisa, I know you have focused a lot of your career on growing leaders, and I think of you and I got to spend a lot of windshield time driving from Portland to Stevenson, Washington, many times as we were doing the Lewis and Clark program. Our conversations always seemed to center around leadership, whether it was your career experience, my career experience, or something that we shared with the group that we just went through the program with.
So, I’d like to ask you what’s a common leadership myth that needs to be busted today?
Lisa Cavanaugh [00:44:55]:
Yeah, such a great question. There are a lot of them, and they tend to be pretty sticky. The one that I would focus on today is that there’s only one way to be a good leader: one size fits all. Everyone should be the same kind of leader, and the reality is that leadership is a social process. And so, as leaders, we need to be attentive to and flex with the people around us, whether it’s the people who report to us, our peers, or our leaders.
So, being really self-aware and being authentic, vulnerable, and willing to put yourself out there is much more important than having a specific pedigree or a specific way of leading.
I’m in an interesting position right now because of that interim VP of Sales my leadership style is very different than my predecessors. He and I think a lot alike, but the way we express that thought is quite different. And one of the conversations that I’ve been having in the organization is not that I’m right and he’s wrong, or he’s right, and I’m wrong, but our styles serve different needs in the organization.
So, I think that’s a really important leadership myth, that rather than trying to be some other kind of leader, somebody that you maybe want to emulate, be yourself and figure out where your leadership strengths are and leverage those rather than trying to be someone you’re not, because people smell that a mile away, and it never goes well.
Jeff Ton [00:46:27]:
I love that because that’s probably a lesson that I learned in my own leadership from my executive coach is you have to own who you are and your personality. And the personality that I bring to a role is not going to be the same personality that someone else brings it. My experiences are different, and I love that you threw vulnerable in there. Right? That’s a great leadership trait that doesn’t get a lot of press these days.
Now, those of you who have listened to the Status Go podcast know that we are all about action, and so is Digital Dialogue. We want folks to be able to take action. It’s great to view this podcast or, sorry, view this LinkedIn Live or listen to the podcast, maybe learn a nugget or two, maybe be entertained a little bit. But what’s really important is action.
So, I’d like each of you to share one action that our listeners should go do tomorrow because they listen to us today.
So, Lisa, I’m going to put you on the spot first: what’s an action that our listeners and viewers should go do?
Lisa Cavanaugh [00:47:40]:
So, what I would say is put yourself in the driver’s seat. Don’t ever allow yourself to be a victim of your personality. That’s a preference. It’s not written in stone or of a bias, or of a mindset. Instead, practice critical thinking. Really consider your own beliefs that you’re bringing to the table what information you’re bringing in, and use that evaluative process in an active, intentional way that will help you be successful.
Jeff Ton [00:48:06]:
I love that and it’s got a great visual. Put yourself in the driver’s seat.
Rob, how about you?
Rob Spitzer [00:48:13]:
I was thinking kind of the same direction as Lisa was, right? Be willing to review some of your own biases and maybe look at why you have those. Right? In some cases, they might be coming from realistic places, but in some cases, they may be coming from fear. So just be willing to kind of open your eyes, take a step back, just step out there a little bit in places you haven’t been before. You may find when you look back in a few years that that was a good first step.
Jeff Ton [00:48:47]:
That I like that. Braden, your turn.
Braden Pitts [00:48:50]:
Yeah, I’m probably going to tie it together with a little bit of what Lisa and Rob said there, and that know, I think if you are hesitant about getting involved with some cloud technology, whether it be a SaaS platform or platform of service, AWS, whatever. I think step one is to do what Robert said earlier, which is to identify a small use case that you can trial run. And I think step two is to overcome some of those biases by getting some deeper education or learning about the things that you’re afraid of or you’re concerned about and then try to understand it a little bit better.
And when you do that, then you can kind of roll out with that proof of concept and see where it takes you from there. And if you recall back to the Status Go episode I did with Jeff and say, probably find yourself a trusted partner that you can work with, too. Because back to what Lisa was saying about specialization, we can be jacks of all trade, but there are inevitably going to be pieces of technology that we don’t have the depth of understanding on, that we need a little help, and the best way to do that is to leverage a trusted partner in this space.
Jeff Ton [00:50:03]:
And I’m going to throw one out here too. I normally don’t do this on the podcast, but I want to do it here. And that is something that we don’t take a lot of time to do as leaders. What I would encourage you to do is carve out time tomorrow to reflect, think about your leadership, and think about is there something that you hold a belief that you hold that it’s time to move past or move through and just carve out that time. Set a meeting appointment on your calendar for 30 minutes, 15 minutes if you can’t carve out 30 and just think, reflect on your leadership.
So, Lisa, Rob, and Braden, I want to thank you so much for joining us on this Digital Dialogue today. I really appreciate you carving out time to help us with the Myth Busters Finale. Really appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Rob Spitzer [00:51:05]:
Lisa Cavanaugh [00:51:05]:
Braden Pitts [00:51:06]:
Thanks for having me.
Jeff Ton [00:51:08]:
To our viewers and our listeners, thank you for joining us today on this crossover episode of Digital Dialogue and The Status Go Podcast. Thank you also to our sponsor for this event, InterVision Systems, and the publisher of The Status Go podcast. We could not bring you this content without their support and their leadership, and I am so appreciative of that. In fact, if you want to learn more, of course, you can visit the Institute for Digital Transformation’s website. But visit intervision.com/myths. You’ll learn more about InterVision. You’ll learn more about the myths that we busted, and just check that out and look for a video replay of this session on the Institute for Digital Transformation’s YouTube channel. I think John said it would be out there tomorrow.
And, as I said, we’re going to air this as a podcast episode on Monday, and you’ll be able to find email@example.com/status-go or wherever you get your podcast.
This is Jeff Ton for Lisa Cavanaugh, Braden Pitts, and Rob Spitzer. Thank you very much for tuning in and watching and listening today. We appreciate it.
Voice Over – Ben Miller [00:52:33]:
You’ve been listening to the Status Go podcast. You can subscribe on iTunes or get more information at intervision.com. If you’d like to contribute to the conversation, find InterVision on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Thank you for listening. Until next time.
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