Which means that about 45 percent of all interactions between IT and business staff are between IT geeks and non-IT non-geeks -- a bit less than my estimate last week, but close enough that the conclusion doesn't change.
So again, when seeking to establish productive business/IT relations, the focus should be on culture, not personality.
Dealing with culture clashes
Now that we've identified the problem, "all" we have to do to mitigate the effects of culture clash between business and IT is to solve everything that causes it: Conflicting specialized vocabularies, hidden assumptions, patterns of thinking, expectations of how people are supposed to react to typical situations, and especially the us-vs.-them tribalism.
Of course, this challenge exists at all levels of management both inside and outside IT.
Start with the CIO. Think back to an article that first appeared sometime in the 1980s and has since been re-published over and over again under different bylines and with only minor changes to the text, titled, "CIOs need to know about the business." Of course they do. And a critical part of understanding the business is understanding the business culture.
It's a tightrope CIOs must walk every day. Fail to understand the business culture and they'll experience the same dysfunctional conflict IT staff experience when communicating with business staff. But understand it too well and the CIOs become part of it, leaving the IT culture behind. Now, their dysfunctional communication will be with the IT staff instead.
The solution isn't to become a member of the other cultures -- to "go native." That just trades one dysfunction for another. Far better is to make sure everyone in IT learns just enough anthropology to get by.
Cultural relativism in the business environment
Start with the principle of cultural relativism -- the principle that within their own contexts, all cultures are equally valid.
In the 21st century, the principle of cultural relativism is tricky because it's only one short step away from intellectual relativism, which has no place in the world -- or shouldn't. Intellectual relativism is the contention that all propositions are equally valid so long as you find them indirectly on the Internet through a link from someone else. (For example, "The Apollo landings were faked" is thus a valid proposition because a blog you visit says, "According to noted expert Irving Slobodnik, the Apollo landings were faked," with a link to Slobodnik's blog.)