Diplomacy

Information Technology: Liability, Plumbing, or Force Multiplier?

I've been saying for years that you can generate a fairly accurate hypothesis about the organizational attitude toward IT by looking at the responsibility for IT within an organization.

If responsibility for IT is scattered hither and thither then IT is likely an uncoordinated aid to other things, probably very inefficient, providing patchy uptimes, and non-scalable systems.

If IT is coordinated then the reporting line from the highest ranking IT person to the Executive Board Room can be very telling.

    Think before you meet

    Years ago I began working as a system administrator, then programmer. In 2000 I worked remotely 90% of the time. From my home office I could do almost everything I needed to do, but it was in this situation that I began to struggle with intense frustration related to interruptions. I began analyzing my situation and discovered that each interruption (e.g., phone call, meeting, pop-in) took me at least 20 minutes to recover from. That is, if I could ever return to the previous task that day.

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    Understand the values that must be preserved

    As I reflected on a series of meetings I attended recently a principle seemed to synthesize in my mind. After meeting with senior leaders of a couple of international organizations I was impressed by the importance of understanding, articulating, and coming to consensus on the critical values that must be preserved if the partnership is to be successful.

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