The most celebrated investor of our time, Warren Buffett, can sling one-liners with eloquence and ease when provoked. My personal favorite is "beware of geeks bearing formulas." I like this for two reasons: First, it's a valid cautionary statement -- and truth is a great quality of any quote. Second, it speaks to the isolation technology leaders have helped create for themselves.
For years, IT organizations have moaned endlessly about getting a seat at the table and participating more in the business. On the flip side, we've all dealt with zealots in the business who swear IT "just doesn't understand" and is constitutionally unable to meet business needs. The clenched-teeth response from IT: Don't they know we've created the platform that underlies everything the business does?
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Unfortunately, there's nothing sexy about keeping the lights on. In today's environment, if the lighting is your top priority, you're likely doing your organization and your career a disservice.
The vast majority of IT executives are good leaders who make all the "necessary" things happen, as dictated by their internal constituency. They forcefully execute a plan someone else develops. The great IT leaders, on the other hand, directly influence the agenda, priorities, and investment decisions of the business. They use the extraordinary leverage that technology represents to help move the business forward.
If you're stuck in the black hole of IT isolation, there has never been a better time to shift your thinking about how IT fits into the schematic of the business or to rally the entire business around a new IT mind-set.
There's a good chance you have a story to tell about the outstanding service you deliver to the business, so shout about it. When you redefine the basic tenets of your value, that changes the IT mind-set and provides a critical rallying point for employees -- shifting the way business perceives what you do in the process.