Don’t Hide Behind Tools

Sticking head in sand with technologyHave you ever been frustrated at your IT person? You know, the one who builds an ivory tower that makes them the bottleneck for any simple requests?

Years ago, I remember having a strategic meeting with an executive team on how to increase collaboration. Their processes and systems needed to support a more scalable workflow. We explored the complexities of their business and how to update their approach to something that would free them from servers, slow processes and unnecessary data capture.

The usual characters were present including an IT executive that sought to undermine and poke holes. We left the meeting with some valuable insights and next steps.

Five minutes later, I got a panicked call. The IT exec calls me up privately and requests that the conversation be confidential. I did not commit. He pushed anyways to ask if his job would be threatened. Apparently, he could feel that his position had become weaker over the months because of automation and technology that was available with mobile and cloud computing platforms.

The truth was that he was already obsolete. He simply relied on pillars of cryptic workflow and technology to keep business users professionally confused and at a distance. He used control of his domain to protect his self-interest.

I let him know he should be fine. That was true if he was able to innovate rather than hide.

I’ve seen and heard this behavior from many organizations. And the sad truth is that anyone trying to hide behind tools is doomed. Think about it:

We all use cloud computing and know how easy it is to have a username and work from anywhere. Think online banking and Facebook.

Our homes are networked with Apple. It’s easy. Everyone got a little smarter and knows what’s possible.

Salesforce changed the game and showed people that customizing, rather than coding, met business requirements.

You break a laptop and you can buy one for under $300 now in the middle of the night at Wal-Mart.

If you need help on a short-term project, someone extremely smart is accessible to help you build whatever you want halfway around the world.

We all are used to speed. I send an email and it gets opened within 2 minutes on your iPhone.

It’s an obvious disconnect when we go to work and experience people hiding behind tools. We can learn your tool. Heck we work our own tools now and see possibilities.

It’s an exciting time where anything is possible for cheap. Innovation is moving at light speed. Your value is not going to be from some technology with a short half-life.

If you want to be valuable, then put your stock in figuring out how to solve the business problems around you and get beyond they shininess of your new toy. There’s no such thing as cornering a technology. We can all access, subscribe and learn pretty easily these days.

Now get going. There are myriad, complex business problems to solve. Be understated about the tools and aggressive about the real problems – making more money, making work easier, getting people to work together, creating a great show for your customers.