Mon 26 Jul 2010
Loaded question, right? Unfortunately, many times that’s how corporate users are seen by the IT folks and with good reason. Anyone who has worked in IT has seen the role of their department become increasingly one of policing its users. With the proliferation of devices that can be brought into the office, the security risks inherent in working in a highly connected world and the often blatant user disregard of acceptable use policies, it is easy to see why IT views its user base as somewhat “special”.
As the head of IT for many years, I can attest to the fact that many users bypass and disregard IT policy on any given day and that it keeps IT folks up at night. Now some users don’t see what they do as a violation and still others know it is and do it anyway. That often makes the IT Departmentu more determined to enforce the policies and to lock down systems and restrict access even more. After all, IT knows they will be the ones to pay the piper and scramble to fix the problem if security is breached or the organization becomes vulnerable to a virus, malware or something worse.
It’s always been challenging to be in IT and these days it can feel like the challenges are overwhelming. Years ago, corporate users were inexperienced, untrained and somewhat apprehensive about using IT. This gave IT Departments much more control over all aspects of technology within the organization. Today, it’s a very different story. Corporate users have become very tech savvy and determined to have a voice and a choice in decisions that the IT Department makes when it comes to technology.
I’ve written about the consumerization of IT in some of my other blogs. I’ve also written about how today’s leaders are running their organizations and teams at a very critical and unique time in corporate history. The fact that users are no longer taking a back seat to the technology decisions made is another example of a corporate first. As time passes, I believe IT will become more user driven than ever. I can see the IT folks cringing as I say this but it is a reality and it’s better to face it head on than live in denial and let the situation get out of control.
As more Millennials continue to enter the workplace, IT will see a push for more and more user driven IT solutions. It will become very difficult to continue applying a command and control type approach to technology. Command and control, whether applied to leadership or technology, is an ineffective solution. Our employees and our users have become too sophisticated for this outdated 20th Century approach to work any longer.
Instead of continuing to embrace an “us. vs. them”, friend or foe attitude with our users, it might be time to shed those limiting traditions and find ways to develop a solution that will work and be a win-win for all concerned. Years ago, as I struggled to make sense of the changes I was beginning to see in the workplace, it was very difficult for me to let go of the command and control approach that is built in to managing the technology function in most organizations. After a lot of hard work and experimentation I managed to change my outlook by applying 4 new techniques into my leadership style. Stay tuned to tomorrow’s blog and I wll share them with you.
In the meantime are you ready to shed the friend vs. foe attitude when it relates to your users?