Get Your Priorities Straight

Whether you're in IT, finance, engineering or sales, you're part of a team, not a club.

June 9, 2003

3 Min Read
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The IT organization can come off just as inflexible and elitist as the fraternity led by Hootie and the blowhards at Augusta National. In IT, it's not so much a gender issue as an attitude issue. Do you exclude nontechnologists from your inner circle? Do you regularly disparage nontechnical managers and associates when they're not around? Do you ever patronize them, talk over their heads, even bully them in person? Do you measure the value of IT based solely on technical capabilities rather than factoring in the business goals IT achieves or problems it solves?

In a recent conversation with an otherwise astute IT pro, the manager yakked on about business partners and end users as if they were annoyances. He admitted, for instance, to keeping IT organization auditors in the dark about technology decisions that were important to their work. Non-IT colleagues were to be placated and humored rather than understood. He seemed to take pride in distancing himself from the people he ostensibly was paid to serve.

Now, most of us commiserate with our office peers from time to time. It helps to blow off steam, and in moderation such gripe sessions can bring departments closer together.

But systemic negativism about department outsiders ultimately undermines respect and cooperation. Whether you're in IT, finance, engineering or sales, you're part of a team, not a club. Save the competitive posturing for the competition. Save the condescension, period.

Also, understand the huge difference between a committed community of professionals and a clique. U.S. Marines may place "unit" and "Corps" before "country" in their hierarchy of priorities, but there's no question that such parochial loyalties more than ably serve the national interest. The bonds (and brute bravery) that unite firefighters inspire them daily to race into blazing buildings and forests to save the lives of people they've never met.But if you find yourself denigrating or even resenting the people you're supposed to be working with or for, step back and remind yourself why you're valuable to your company or organization in the first place. As an IT professional, you make things happen more efficiently and productively for everyone by combining technical know-how with critical thinking. Don't let pettiness get in the way.

Be Part of Our Team

The aforementioned professions aren't the only ones who tend to resist outside influence. Lawyers, doctors, athletes--and journalists--can be as hidebound as any of them.

Here at Network Computing, we're trying to resist that predisposition. So rather than assume we always know what's best for you, our readers, we are asking you what's best for you.

Please take 15 minutes to fill out our reader survey. (You'll be in the running to win one of three Apple iPods just for filling out the survey.) Not only will Network Computing's editors internalize your responses to guide our print and online coverage, we'll also present an in-depth analysis of the survey results in our second annual reader poll issue on Oct. 30.Post a comment or question on this story.

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