I am honoured and more than delighted to have been named in the 2021 HDI top 25 Thought Leaders list – for the 5th year. I am not a great fan of the title ‘Thought Leader’, but I do of course understand  the intent and meaning here and its very humbling and comforting to feel appreciated by the industry in this way. Thanks very much to HDI and the HDI community for this and also many congrats to the other great people included on the list.

This makes me think of how the industry has evolved over the years. We do now have a great global community, with a great spirit of transparency and sharing of ideas and information. There is also a strong sense of the power of coaching and mentorship as well as constant learning displayed by the ITSM community. There’s a lot of great people and many of us have made great and lasting friendships through the industry, regardless of where we might all be working at the time.

I also think that we now keep improving and opening up areas of our industry that were previously hidden. We have matured and moved to this position from one that was perhaps not quite as unified in the past…

A couple of years ago one of my oldest friends and I played golf for the first time in years – he moved the US in the 90s and was back over in the UK for his birthday. We keep in touch of course, but not obviously the way we did 30 years ago, when we would play golf, play music in the same band and socialise all the time. It was a beautiful day and glorious place, we were having a great time and there was almost no one else around, so we weren’t rushing.

A couple of young lads were playing behind us so we ‘let them through’ – i.e. we stopped to let them pass us and go ahead. They seemed surprised and grateful and we chatted briefly to them – my friend and I both had the same attitude and message – we wanted to treat the youngsters better than we had been treated by the corresponding ‘old guys’ when we were their age, who had tended to be haughty, and very definitely wouldn’t have ‘let us through’. I was delighted that we both had the same thoughts about this.

I think that this also reflects how our industry has changed; with a few notable exceptions, the initial ITSM/ITIL community was not always so welcoming. There was a lot of cronyism and protective practice, and I’m pleased that this has mostly gone. I’ve gone from being a (slight) rebel/outsider to being one of the institutional ‘old guys’ – I recognise that but still try to retain some semblance of a challenging and learning mindset as much as possible..! I’ve tried to play a part to break down some of the barriers in our community, welcome new people, give people a hand up on their careers and keep learning…That’s what we should all be doing as leaders – thinking of course, but also definitely leading people.

I’m happy to be recognised as a leader in doing that if nothing else, and I hope that those of you who are here for the long haul will continue to do so in future!

We have some great opportunities with the growth in interest around Service Management as well as constant change – this is also the time for leadership to help people, colleagues, customers, partners, suppliers to collaborate, innovate and grow together.