These pictures are from the Valley of Fire, Nevada. I took them a couple of weeks ago while enjoying some gentle south-western winter sunshine. valley_of_fire1The tough desert climate, poor soil and unforgiving terrain are all redeemed by the sheer beauty and drama of the landscape.

This place is unforgiving and even minor hiking should be taken seriously  -complacency kills! – yet the desert is full of life. Rabbits and smaller rodents, snakes, lizards, foxes and numerous birds make the desert their home. img_3081Despite the adversity of the environment, they thrive here.img_3086

Are you thriving or merely surviving today? Here are five questions I have for you as a technology executive:

1. Have you lately come up with an innovative use of technology that puts your organization in front of your competition?

It is troubling that we find IT departments today more and more focused on simply keeping the lights up, not unlike a humble (yet very expensive) janitor?

2. Do you know what your organization’s strategic priorities are today?

Cost cutting? You can’t grow buy cutting costs. I mean – really, where is your company heading and how can you as the head of IT enable this journey?

3. Are you working on the right things?

Do  you and your business counterparts evaluate the basket of projects  you are working on regularly? If not, how do you know you are spending limited resources on the right thing?

4. Are you laying people off “to conserve cash”? How do you know you are not permanently disabling your department and organization?

If you must, it is better to cut vertically than horizontally – it is more difficult but it is right. More on this here .

5. Do you communicate with your employees regularly and openly?

On a daily basis, I receive horror stories from people about embarassingly trembling, unsure, vague, inaccurate and even clearly dishonest communication coming from the C-suite.

As a technology executive, you have enormous powers at your disposal: probably the best educated department in your organization, capable of innovation. Innovation, when aligned with the overall strategy, creates sustainable competitive advantage and ensures that the business will not simply survive but thrive.