Its More Important to

By Deborah Rothberg  |  Posted 2006-10-05 Print this article Print

Be Effective Than to Be Good"> "It not as much about your technical talents but what kind of measurable results you can deliver for the company and its customers." Moran notes that most people would have little patience for a mechanic who rolled his eyes because a customer didnt know where their carburetor was.
Furthermore, most people are not concerned about having the same knowledge base as the experts they hire—they just want them to do their job.
"IT people often feel that you should know a little of what they do, too and they might be right. Clients should know what outcome they want. When I hire someone, I just want outcome, and I could care less about what tools they use to achieve it," said Moran. It makes for compromised end-products Being able to effectively communicate with customers is about more than being friendly or personable. Its about the exchange of ideas and technical goals needed to effectively get the job done. Workers voice dissatisfaction with workplace communication. Click here to read more. "Its the elephant in the room. IT is more allowed to get away with [a bad attitude] in an internal corporate environment because there arent the checks and balances from customer feedback as internal IT departments rarely do customer feedback," said Berke.

"Meanwhile, people worry that if they start complaining, theyll have even worse service from IT, in the way that inpatients are afraid to complain about a bad nurse." In environments where users cannot express their frustrations, the problem only worsens. "Sometimes your product suffers in quality when you carry that attitude, because it might not meet users where they are," said Moran. Moran feels that one of the best ways to side-step these problems is what he calls "total immersion." IT must constantly commingle with the people they build tools for, and not only when things go wrong. "In fairness to IT pros, they are generally only called up when things are going wrong, but this is exacerbated by the fact that they are generally not visible to the people using their projects," said Moran. "It goes both ways: they dont hear when things are good and perceive a lack of appreciation, and then they have a bad attitude." Davis agrees that immersion is an excellent first step in making for better end-products, and believes that educating users is second. "If you give someone a computer and tell them to go use it, theyre not going to fully understand what they are doing. Nobody is encouraging them to invest time in learning about securing this machine. Then, only when they get a virus does IT step in to fix it…Beyond IT becoming more business-savvy, they need to help create more technically-savvy users," Davis said. It could be career suicide It doesnt take a room full of experts to explain that having a good attitude will get you further in your career than having a lousy one. However, within this, there is a shifting tide. "The arrogant, unresponsive IT guy with the superiority complex stemmed from a time when there was a huge amount of need for IT but not enough people to do it. So in a way, they got away with everything. These people are a little lost right now," Moran said. A few years ago, Moran noted, the computer guy that people were afraid to talk to was better tolerated; now, this arrogance would likely cost the same person a promotion. "They are greatly limiting their career opportunities," Moran said. "Viewing their particular area of intelligence as more important that other peoples work is a definite career-limiting factor." This individual that does not fit becomes increasingly marginalized and less critical to the organization, and will often find themselves passed by for promotions. "These people may not have the same level of technical skills, but they can get the job done without static," Moran said. Moving past this stereotypical attitude and its thinly veiled contempt for users can be the golden ticket, catapulting the IT career in any number of directions. "Its more important to be effective than to be good. IT people are often consumed with how good they are, but there is a human element they may lack," Moran said. "If IT people get the technical and the personal skills down, they put themselves in the drivers seat in any company. To a degree, its almost like having that God-like status they believed they had in the late 90s." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management from


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