We often find ourselves in target rich environments. We witness the waste, chaos, and misery around us and, because we wish to Deny Pain, we apply ourselves and/or our advice to targets that are second order effects, or worse, mere consequences.
One of the principles given us is, "Build projects around motivated individuals." Permit me to show my bias by stating the corollary, "Form Teams around motivated individuals." And who is more motivated than that human standing in the middle of that real business problem?
As men and women that focus on improving, we ache to have sponsorship for our ideas and notions. We yearn to have access to people that have the organizational power to turn those notions into action. I submit to you that one need look no farther than the humans mentioned herein.
It isn't necessarily the IT managers. It isn't always the CIO/CTO/CWhateverO. It is the line of business manger. It is the Operations Team Lead. It is the Mail Room clerk.