The other day I heard someone casually use the word carapace, a word I was unfamiliar with. A carapace is the upper hard shell of a turtle or crustacean, made of keratin, which is the same material we find in mammals fingernails, hooves, and claws. (The lower shell of the turtle is called the plastron.) The turtle shell protects its fragile body and acts as a portable protective case for it’s head and appendages.
When we consider the work in front of us, transforming the IT services we provide and acting as a catalyst to change our business’s landscape, we need to take a lesson from the turtle. Not everyone is going to be as supportive as we’d want. Not everyone is going to recognize the value of the long term vision we have. Some might sling some arrows, and having a hard exterior shell to protect us will be paramount.
The carapace of the IT leader needs to be constructed from the conviction that you provide high-value, operate on equal footing, and contribute a pan-company perspective that is unique and crucial. Keep pushing the boundaries and have confidence that your protective shell will be strengthened as you build better relationships and expand your tribe.
Turtles have survived for over 157 million years, their longevity, due in part, to how they’ve adapted to their environment by presenting a thick, resilient exterior shell. Let’s take a lesson from the turtle and not get distracted by the occasional arrow or barb.