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If You Run You Can’t Grow

June 14, 2019


IT Function Model

I like learning new business strategies. I’ve read a lot of business books. I read for two reasons. First, there’s some valuable information. (Not all of it, but a lot.) And it’s important to speak the language of your industry. My industry is IT. I need to understand “seats on the bus” (Good To Great,) and “Chickens are involved but pigs are committed,” (Agile development.)

Last week I heard about a new IT business strategy. It’s new to me. It’s called Run-Grow-Transform. The idea is that your IT business all falls into one of these three categories. The “ideal” ratio is 70% of your time spent on Run Operations. The remaining 30% is split between Grow activities and Transform initiatives.

I was in a global summit meeting last week where the idea was introduced. Management was already using it and they were sharing their plans with us. They told us they wanted our roles. . .my role. . .to be 50% on Run and 50% on Grow/Transform.

And then they said something revelatory. They said,

If you are personally responsible for Run you can never Grow. Run will always dominate.

They didn’t even consider Transform. My job is to manage the IT relationship between my company and one of our biggest clients. That means I often take on the project manager role for small projects. I’m also responsible for our overal system availability. And if anything goes wrong it’s my job to figure out how to get someone to fix it. I’m also responsible for looking at innovation opportunities for our business.

I’m the guy for Run, Grow and Transform for the IT business between our two companies. And I realized why I’m not the project manager for large projects.

Projects: have a set of features, a budget and a set timeline

Projects are governed by their schedule. They involve a lot of people from various teams. Project meetings typically happen once per week. I attend a lot of project meetings. But, there is one thing that occasionally interrupts my ability to attend project meetings.

When we have an outage, I’m the guy that gets called first and I’m the last one on the call. After the outage is over we have to record any lost agent minutes, or LAM. I’m the one who has to approve the LAM report.

And that’s what keeps me from being the project manager on many large projects. If we have an outage that is my first priority. I’m responsible for both Run and Grow and Run always trumps Grow.

The good news was that this global summit was focused on how to get us to the 50/50 Run/Grow-Transform. And they were the ones that said you can’t be the Run and Grow guy.

Understanding why I struggle to Run and Grow at the same time, helps me to finally understand an important part of my job. And understanding is the first step.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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