Monthly Archives: November 2010

When IT is really about communication

By Allen Brown, CEO, The Open Group

In his classic book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, John Gray sets out to give us a guide to understanding the opposite sex. This is something that has been perplexing our species since we first arrived on this the third rock from the sun, yet there is a much more important distinction that we need to understand as IT becomes more and more a part of the enterprise.

BusinessWe hear talk of IT specialists and enterprise and IT architects needing to speak the language of business, but there is much more to it than that. At various times I hear statements like, “What CEOs need to understand is…” or, “Our business leaders do not understand their business processes.” Just as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady asked that wonderfully expressive yet completely un-PC question, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” so are people who are equally exasperated asking, “Why can’t a business leader be more like an IT expert?”

Fortunately we are all different. Business leaders, with some exceptions, do not have their brains wired in a perfectly logical manner nor do they inhabit a planet where everything is clear and every action is obvious.  Instead they live in a world where decisions have to be made based on incomplete information, where risk and reward is the way of life and where things often get done in spite of the organization’s formal structure rather than because of it.

John Gray points out that, “You cannot, nor should you ever try to, change your partner. That is his or her job. Your job is to change the ways you communicate, react and respond to your partner.”

The same is true for us. You cannot, nor should you ever try to change your business leaders. That is their job. Your job is to change the ways you communicate, react and respond to your business leaders.

Allen BrownAllen Brown is the President and CEO of The Open Group. For more than ten years, he has been responsible for driving the organization’s strategic plan and day-to-day operations; he was also instrumental in the creation of The Association of Open Group Enterprise Architects (AOGEA). Allen is based in the U.K.


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