In a recent blog post, Navy CIO Robert Carey outlined some of the key lessons he learned from Lou Gerstner’s, the former CEO of IBM, book Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance. Carey believes there are several lessons from the book that are applicable to the “internal issues that are keeping the Department of the Navy from excelling in the Information Age.”
Bureaucracy and Culture: “We must guard against being so wrapped up in internal processes that we are then unable to accept or even consider new thoughts,” Carey writes.
Centralization vs. Decentralization: Despite things not going particularly well, individuals tend to remain fixated on control and are fearful of losing that control, according to Carey.
Decision Agility: “We need the ability to make corporate-level decisions and have the organization rally behind those decisions to deliver success,” he writes.
Customer-focus: The Navy’s information office must focus on the needs of the warfighters that are deployed globally, according to Carey.
Transparency: “Each of the teams working to deliver outcomes should know the strategy and have a sufficient amount of the details to ensure success,” Carey writes. “We must guard against a “need to know” mentality and allow outside scrutiny within the Department to be our ally rather than our enemy.”
Carey writes that the Navy can learn a lot from the experiences of companies like IBM.
“We must learn from historic transformations, such as what occurred at IBM, to move our organization into the Information Age,” he writes. “If we remain linked to Industrial Age processes, they will quickly become anchors to our efficiency and effectiveness.”