This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview Greg Lane, Global Top-Ranking Executive, International Thought Leader, Past Chairman CIPS, Chairman IP3, Director Avanade.
Greg Lane I.S.P., ITCP, IP3P, MBA, is the past Chair of the Canadian Council of Information Technology Professionals (CCITP) of the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) and Chair of the CIPS Office of the Executive Council. In 2009, Greg was appointed Chair of the International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3), a global initiative under the UNESCO-founded International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) to lead the development of a global IT profession.
In these capacities, Greg is spokesperson on Information Technology (IT) issues related to the profession and the industry on both a national and global stage. Greg also works closely with government, employers and academia to create awareness and a better understanding about the importance of professional standards in the IT sector. He previously served as CIPS President from 2003 to 2004.
From May 2001 to May 2002, Greg was a CIPS Director-at-Large and appointed as CIPS' Marketing Director. At that time, Greg played a vital role in the promotion of CIPS' four national programs: I.S.P. Week, Women in IT, IT Week and INFORMATICS. The programs demonstrated CIPS as a truly national organization to the IT industry and the Canadian government.
Greg served as President of CIPS Ottawa from 1999 to 2000. Prior to 1999, he was a member of the CIPS Ottawa Program Committee. Greg is a former Chair of the Public Sector Business Committee for the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC).
Greg is currently employed with Avanade as the Director, Business Development Public Service for Canada. Prior to joining Avanade Greg worked with Accenture in a Business Development role in the Public Service Group in Ottawa. Greg has also held senior leadership roles at Microsoft, Deloitte Consulting, Bell Canada and EDS.
Greg has lectured at the University of Ottawa in the administration faculty on Governance and IT and is a fellow of the Centre on Governance. Greg has also contributed to Lac Carling Review on the same topic.
Greg holds an MBA from Massey University in New Zealand and both the I.S.P. and ITCP from CIPS. Greg and his wife Elisa are also the proud parents of five children.
To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link
Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
Greg, can you discuss your prior roles and projects and key lessons that you wish to pass on?
"....Understand what makes you feel good and look for opportunities to do more of that....Success is contagious. If you are successful in one area of your life it is easier to become successful in other areas of your life....Having goals in your life absolutely helps you to achieve and they don't just have to be professional....Embrace heroes...."
In your prior roles, what were the most difficult challenges that you were not able to overcome at that time? What would you do differently now?
"....Sometimes it's difficult for me to accept that not everybody fits into every role....Another is that I was reluctant to give any negative feedback....In both instances getting to the truth quickly would have been advantageous and I didn't do it..."
What were the key disruptive forces driving change in your life and how can we learn from your experiences?
"....Children are a key disruptive force and they challenge everything. My children have challenged me and I find that really beneficial when I'm in a business situation. I often ask the question 'why?' and I find the answer sometimes disturbing and sometimes refreshing....The other challenging disruption is technology and the differing perspectives of what technology is...."
Can you profile "all" of your current roles and work and the value delivered to your diverse audiences?
"....They are all important for different reasons and I take a lot of pride in the work I do with them....."
In terms of Avanade and your role there from a business standpoint, what are you doing to address the challenges that businesses are feeling today?
"....For every negative there is a positive so if you try to find a positive aspect of the challenges you face then you don't approach them with a negative attitude which is trying to minimize something....If you push with that kind of mindset, people are much more willing to contribute and participate as well...."
In all of your various roles, what are the biggest challenges and their solutions? How does this relate to business value?
"....Listening is a lost art and the ability to hear what people are saying instead of what you are expecting them to say is a challenge....Sometimes to say no is the right answer - something that from a business perspective is very challenging for people to do but sometimes it's the right thing to do...."
What are your views on the world being flat?
"....Location is by and large irrelevant....IT and the ability to connect people using technology is what changes everything...."
What does it mean that IT is the first truly global industry?
"....Because of the global nature, people and cultures are mixing in truly unique and different ways...."
What is the impact of IT for people, business, and countries?
"....It's like any disruptive change; fortunately or unfortunately there are going to be some winners and some countries, people or businesses that lose....Darwin is still right, people who adapt with change and embrace it soonest (generally speaking) are going to be most successful...."
Can you talk more about the key initiatives for the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) and what you hope to achieve?
"....Increase the awareness of the impact of IT....Part of what we have to do as a maturing industry is to make sure that our practitioners and professionals are aware of their responsibilities, and protect the public from the kinds of harm that can happen...."
Greg provides more information about IP3 including its goals and how they can be accomplished. Also who the stakeholders are and why everybody should care.
"....United Nations and UNESCO are looking for ways that developing countries and their societies can share, learn and develop standards that are going to allow developing countries to succeed and developed countries to continue to succeed...."
How is the professionalism message resonating with different audiences?
"....My hope for IT is that we will soon come to a day the public, individuals within the industry, employers, government and academia all know that an IP3 means somebody who has achieved a level of knowledge through academics and training, they are committed to a course of continued education and study, they act and behave and are seen to be ethical, they adhere to a standard of practice and they are competent - not just in technology but in business as well...."
We talked about the economic challenges and how we can improve the ability of companies to survive. What are the five most important broader business challenges and solutions?
"....If I had to point at one area where individually and collectively we are going to be focused going forward, it is absolutely how we deal with information and how we use that information to derive value for businesses...."
Provide your predictions of future Business leadership trends and their implications/opportunities?
"....For me there is no such thing as any one single event or technology to present continuous sustained opportunity. The way you'll get continuous opportunity is by your attitude when you approach businesses and challenges, and if you see all challenges as opportunities then embrace them and look for positive ways to use whatever it is that is happening as a platform to move forward and be successful...."
Which are your top recommended resources and why?
"....Wikipedia....Universities and university publications....Libraries....Mentors....At the end of the day it's how you distill it all and how you apply it...."
Where can the audience go to find out more about the IP3 initiative, the accreditation of programs, privacy issues, and other things that IT professionals need to know about?
"....I would recommend http://www.cips.ca....If you google IFIP you will find a number of resources around international committees, international standards, etc.....IP3 at http://www.ip3.org ....Join CIPS or join a society that you feel is relevant to you...."
Greg shares an interesting story from his experiences.
If you were doing this interview, what questions would you ask and then what would be your answers?
"....'What is the best way for people who want to make a difference to get involved?....'When do you stop learning?'....'Is humour important?'...."