As IT managers and CIOs, our businesses charge us to identify new technical trends and IT tools we can use to achieve a competitive advantage. At the same time, many of our organizations resist the introduction of these new tools with ferocity. Sometimes this resistance springs from budgetary, interpersonal, or political concerns. Other times, though, we come face to face with a kind of resistance we are ill-equipped to deal with: the deep seated belief that computers, “technology,” and everything that goes with them are nothing more than foolish fads that will, in time, pass along with all of the rest of the business gimmicks in the last fifty years.
As agents of technology, we in IT rarely sympathize with this point of view. We engage in malicious gossip about executives who refuse to read their e-mail, call decision-makers who cancel new technology products “Luddites,” and say those who want to fund their projects over ours “are stuck in the past.” This contempt, born from our culture and our beliefs, further exacerbates an already complicated situation. However, as my mentor once pointed out to me, a bit of listening and a dose of understanding goes a long way toward defusing fear and even hate. [Continued...] [Shannon T. Kalvar]