We in IT have a decision to make: Do we want to be powerful, or do we want to be influential?
Stories by Paul Glen
The first step is to expand what, for those in IT, is a limited understanding of what influence is.
We geeks must transform our eagerness to please users into eagerness to help. There's a big difference.
You can tell a lot about what matters in a community from the vantage point of a small plane. That's figuratively true of all organizations.
Geeks are devoted to Truth, with a capital T. The question 'When will it be done?' feels like a request to lie. Insider; registration required)
Every IT person has had one of these situations. A user comes to you with a problem. You fix it and announce, "Problem solved" or "Case closed." But you're met with a long, uncomfortable silence or a blank stare. It's an awkward moment that you can end only by
New managers struggle. They also don't get much help -- or sympathy. My last column elicited a lot of heartfelt reader emails about the difficulty of, and lack of support for, the transition from technical work to management. My conversations with those
Whenever I hear a technical person say, "I just got promoted into management," I know he's in for a rough ride. Because chances are he doesn't understand what he's gotten himself into, and whoever gave him the job hasn't prepared him well. Very rarely do they realize that in technical work, this new role isn't a promotion -- it's a career change.
For more than 20 years, I've been hearing complaints, concerns and panicked hysteria about the end of the IT career as we know it. Just below the surface, we all seem to think that we're about to get the ax. And that's because we persistently misunderstand what our business partners want most from us. We think they just need the best technician, but they don't.
Every IT professional has been here: A business person asks you a question, and your thorough answer just isn't good enough. You try to give more specific information in an attempt to break through the communication barrier. But the more you try, the worse things seem to get. In the end, the business person is seething with impatience, so you start to get confused and angry.
Early in my career, I prided myself on my ability to follow orders well. But eventually, I realized that truly serving my boss required more than just doing as I was told -- or as I thought I'd been told.
A while back, I read a survey that showed that, other than directors of human resources, CIOs were considered the least influential senior executives in most organisations.
As an IT management consultant, I look at a lot of processes. They're everywhere. And so are the misconceptions about what makes them useful.
With the economy ailing, the US presidential election in full swing and surveys showing cuts in next year's IT budgets, get ready to hear more and more about jobs. People will lose jobs. Evil corporations will export jobs. We will need more jobs. We will need better jobs. Not McJobs.