Referring back to the 90’s StarTrek TV series might be a somewhat lame attempt at humor, that does however not preclude there being a tiny swat of truth in the matter.
Just remember how you felt when raising your kids, trying to accomplish your grocery shopping before rushing off to the next weekend chore, when you suddenly found yourself in the midst of a linguistic confusion of Babylonian proportions. Approaching the cashier you heard, “I want that candy!”. And you went like, “My dear, today is not candy day, so you cannot have it.” …”Whyyy?”. “Well, because today’s not candy day”. “Ok…, what’s candy day?”. And then you realized, that this might be an entirely new concept altogether in a young person’s life and so you went on to explain the idea of not having candy every day and particularly not in the shop at this very moment. All of this based on a wildly grown-up logic, explained to a mildly skeptical three-year-old. And how happy were you about your solid parenting skills. “Daaaddyy, candy?”…”!?!”… Not so fast, sport.
As in our popular entertainment show, where people in pajamas go through all kinds of ordeals to save the universe, being at the cashier with your child you might have indeed felt like an Android, being the only one adhering to logic in decision-making. Unfortunately, however, this situation is more common in business context that we might wish.
The background of this of course is, that in our working environment we come together as teams, business units or enterprises (no pun intended), assembled from different walks of life, with various educational backgrounds and with diverging sets of experiences. All of these contribute to our thinking and the belief structures we leverage when working and making decisions together.
In 2012 Qentinel conducted a market study among CIOs and other IT decision makers to research decision making in the context of IT. One of the key findings was, that while IT heads are typically really skillful talking bits and bytes, the audience of CEOs and CFOs they are usually communicating with for funding and other company infrastructure related decisions, are more fluent in talking Euros. So, whatever you propose needs to be communicated as a function of a financial value-add. This proves, more often than not, to be a barrier for solid, high quality and multilateral decision-making.
Just to recap, should you fail to create a common language between the different stakeholders in your organization, it is not unlikely that you will lose at least part of the audience in the process. As a result you might feel misunderstood or not appreciated, and indeed could abandon an effort possibly of high value to your organization if executed well, as a futile attempt because of the different concepts leveraged for decision-making. And after trying the Don Quijote tactics of running up against windmills for a while you might accept the facts and become indeed assimilated and stop trying. And this we all know for a fact, there hardly is a more frustrating experience than the feeling of being the only smart guy or gal in the room.
So, when building the IT infrastructure to secure your company’s future, leverage the tools at hand or make sure you find some way to create a common language, talk to us in case you want us to translate, and as Patrick Steward used to put it, “Energize!”.