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Tell Me Your Dream

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Anton Langeler | IT Director | O'Neill Europe

I think what is important, as CIO, is to sit with both your feet on the floor. I cannot sit in an ivory tower and look from that height. I always invent at least one day per week, or four hours per week, to spend [time] on the floor and ask people what they are doing, and where can I improve; and if they are happy with the current support, and where it can improve. But do you know where is a very good point to start? I have a small video camera, and I make a video. I ask them, "Can you tell me a little bit about your dream?" If they tell a little bit about the dream, I say, "Make your dream bigger." Then they give me such a lot of information, where I get it, and I try to find a solution. Now I try to give this information also to my team: talk about dreams. A lot people, they are a little bit afraid to talk about the dream. Because they say, “Oh, we should be realistic; we cannot deliver that.” But I can tell you, if you talk about your dream, you are much more worked on the innovative sides. In our team, it looks like a snowball starts rolling. In the snowball, [there are] always three parts. First part: as-is situation. Today. [How] everybody lives today. The second point in the ball is smaller: what is to be, where we are to go in the future. There is a small place for the dream. If I ask a lot of people about the dream, they're small: “I'm only happy if I have a store, if I'm in control.” But if the snowball starts rolling, and the as-is situation is the same, there is more space for the to be, and your dream will be bigger. If you ask people more about the dream, then the snowball is bigger, then your to be is bigger. And it's more realistic. Then you find a lot of innovative solutions. You come to areas where others see problems and barriers and stop. There is the place we start.

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