So what’s up Doc! Why aren’t you sleeping?

So what’s up Doc! Why aren’t you sleeping?

I was asked not long ago what kept me awake at night as a CIO. This is a great question, but an even more important question is, what helps me have a peaceful sleep.

I can recall all of those times where I tossed and turned, too tired to get up, but unable to go back to sleep. And I can say with certainty, it isn’t much fun.

I refer to those things that can keep me awake through the year as my unwelcome stimulants.  Those things that help me sleep are my relaxants. I will cover my first three unwelcome stimulants below along with the very welcome relaxants I have used with success.  


Availability of systems: A major outage of critical systems would be materially disastrous for the organisations we work for or large transactions of data which failed overnight processing would have grave consequence on the next day business operations. My relaxant is Operational Change Management. It is a critical process to mitigate this concern. If I have confidence in it and how effectively we are doing it then I sleep well. 

Security: Environments are getting more complex and the risk and number of threats is increasing all of the time. One slip may have disastrous effect on systems availability and therefore impact on the business. Well-designed security architecture and up-to-date operational systems can avoid this and hence is my relaxant.  This means being on the front foot and thinking ahead of the threat rather than being responsive to them.  If I know we are doing this then I can be at peace. 

Program Delivery: There is always the need to ensure that large programs are delivering expected benefits. However, delays in programs or programs can have the reverse effect and actually cost the organisation money. Effective and transparent program/project assurance is a critical relaxantfor me.  Knowing qualified others are looking inside the engine room of each Program and Project ensures I get my much needed beauty sleep.     


In my next post I will cover my last four unwelcome stimulants, that include my concerns for Staff Well being, Stakeholder Engagement, Vendor Relationships and Ethical Behavior.  Plus the must have relaxants that are tied to each.

I’m also aware, from experience, that there are perhaps things that I don’t know.


This means I need a general set of relaxants to help me rest easy at the end of most days. I’ll also cover what works for me in ensuring I uncover these unknowns in a following post.

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