Next-gen IT trump card: Trust

IT efficiency begins with effective decision making. Here, the card game bridge can be IT's guide

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Next-gen IT: Efficiency requires trust

Imagine a committee having to reach consensus before playing the first card -- an excruciating thought. Yet this is how a lot of managers approach issues, and the bigger the company, the more likely that this is how way too many decisions are made.

Consensus is a good idea for some decisions -- the ones where what matters most is buy-in. That's a known property of consensus decision making: Consensus decisions aren't the best decisions, and consensus is the slowest and most expensive decision-making technique available to you, but you get buy-in on the part of every stakeholder included in the consensus.

But let's take a step back and think about what this says about the organization. It says that nobody trusts their colleagues enough to buy into a decision they didn't personally participate in. Everyone has to be declarer or, if they can't, at least share in the declarer role.

Why tribalism has no place in next-gen IT

If you want to speed up IT -- or any organization, for that matter -- focus on building trust. Any time one person could make a perfectly good decision but ends up requiring consensus instead, you have an opportunity to speed up the process.

Which means I lied when I said the question of what team you're on isn't part of this week's subject. Anyone who considers themselves to be on one of these teams -- Apple or Microsoft, Windows or Unix, or whatever collection of competing tribes leading to relegating the others to the dreaded role of "them" -- and bases trust on tribal membership is part of the problem. The game of my team/your team always creates distrust.

That slows down your organization -- a lot. If you need to establish someone as "them," make it a competitor's IT department. A healthy sense of rivalry with a competitor doesn't slow down operations.

Quite the opposite: If they're "them," it will probably speed "us" up.

This story, "Next-gen IT trump card: Trust," was originally published at Read more of Bob Lewis' Advice Line blog on For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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