When it breaks, fix it. Chances are that you’ve experienced numerous breakdowns in your ability to get the technology you want. Some were a big deal, like a multi-million dollar project going off the rails. Others were small and personal, like a corporate policy preventing you from using your iPhone for email. Either way, you likely have experience being frustrated with the technology itself and the people who get it for you.
In each case, you learned something from the experience, something about working with technical people. Maybe it was that “geeks are inflexible” or that “my IT department can’t deliver big projects” or “outsourced service suppliers don’t deliver what they promised after they have my money.” Whatever it was, you tucked it away as a painful lesson learned. And it affected your relationship with the technical people you were working with when the breakdown occurred. Those relationships were damaged.
More importantly, those lessons lives on in you today and affects your relationship with people who had nothing to do with those old breakdowns. When you meet a new technical person, they are immediately associated with those old failures and the lessons you learned.
It’s not a one sided problem. Technical people learn things from those breakdowns too. “Business people ask for unreasonable things,” or “executives are never satisfied, no matter how heroic our efforts” or “they refuse to support our processes.” And you get associated with their old stories too.
Without an explicit effort to repair the damage done to the relationships, these lessons become assumptions that constrain your future success. Old experiences solidify into patterns of mistrust and resentment creating barriers to collaboration where none need to exist. Geeks don’t trust you because they felt betrayed by some other executive in the past. And you don’t trust them, because you are still living with the lessons you learned. You don’t get the technology you want, in part, because your current relationships recreate those old breakdowns.
Repairing old damage is not hard. Breaking the cycles of anger, mistrust and resentment doesn’t take much time if you invest in a bit of facilitated open conversation.
For more information about how you can leverage geeks to get the technology you want, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 310-694-0450.