October 6

The Answer in the Clouds

Taking advantage of the beautiful fall weather this weekend, my family and I attended a local apple festival. It was an excuse to get out of the house, get some fresh apple cider donuts and have some fun on a beautiful fall day.

On the ride there, my children asked for some jazz on the radio and then called out the different things they ‘saw’ in the clouds. The list was common (trains, dinosaurs, bull dozers…) – and encouraged my wife and I to gaze up to “see what we could see.”

The ‘apple festival’ was held on some local fairgrounds that are well established, including some museums, pavilions, horse stables and a music amphitheatre (well, it has a stage and benches). The real gem of the day was the music and the freshly cooked food that was a little less than the picture of perfect health.

With a batch of fresh-cut French fries, we sat on some benches and listened to a jazz group entertain the crowd. When the fries were gone, I lay back on the bench and just looked up at the sky. The ride to the festival still fresh in my mind, I started to look for patterns. The first few looked like inkblots to me, then I saw some x-rays and finally, the imagination kicked in and I saw dinosaurs, alligators and a host of other things. Soon, then entire family was looking up at the clouds – in the middle of the festival around us, we celebrated the clouds.

For a few minutes, I was entirely in the moment. I absorbed the fall hue the sky took on, enjoyed the clouds and was content with the world.

Then it hit me – we allow ourselves to be so focused on the technology and the need for immediate solutions that we fail to take the time to let the clouds roll by. This leads to  vicious cycle where the so-called solutions actually create more problems. When we can step back and just let things be – we can see them for what they are. More:

  • We can look for simple solutions; the ones that probably work best and require the least.
  • We can allow our creativity to come through – and we certainly need more of that in nearly every aspect of life.
  • We can relax, experience life and find common, but powerful, ways to connect with those around us – whether friends and family or our colleagues (which for some of us comprise our friends and family)

Technology has a place in our solutions. We live in a dynamic world with some interesting and often complex challenges. Such challenges require equally dynamic – but SIMPLE solutions. The way to get to simple solutions is to step back, gather, absorb, ponder, plan and test. This leads to the right requirements that generate solutions that work.

Want to develop better solutions? Then create better requirements. Here are three steps to get started:

1. Take time to first understand – then engage in conversation to reach a mutual agreement on what the end goal is.

2. Enjoy some time to ‘look at the clouds’ and test a range of ideas – creativity counts. Stepping back with a more complete understanding allows for better requirements, better solutions and less overall complication.

3. Document the requirements independent of the solutions and use them as a guide.

There are more steps – and I will be explaining and using them in the coming months as we take a closer look at the burglary of our RV – and how it has improved our planning and actions on a personal, family and business level.

While you have the opportunity – step outside today and look up at the clouds. If you can’t see trains, dinosaurs, dragons, roller coasters and a heap of other things, then maybe more cloud gazing is the answer for personal and professional success.

Continue the conversation with me

  •       On twitter: http://twitter.com/catalyst
  •       In the Security Catalyst Community (scc): http://www.securitycatalyst.org/forums/index.php
  •       By email or telephone: http://securitycatalyst.com/contact.php
  •       OnTour – heading back out in a few days: www.catalystontour.tv (and I’ll be updating the schedule and other information this week)

About Michael

Michael Santarcangelo is a human catalyst. An expert who speaks on information protection — including compliance, privacy and awareness that works — Michael energizes and inspires his audiences to change the way they protect information. His passion is contagious and approach gets results that shifts thinking and changes behaviors. Add the Security Catalyst to our organization today to get the results necessary for success.


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