2010/12/14

T-SQL Tuesday - Business: Listen and Learn



T-SQL Tuesday Hosted by Steve Jones


The official topic this month is:
What issues have you had in interacting with the business to get your job done.

I have entitled my essay: Listen and Learn

I have found that most things in life obey an 80/20 rule. With regards to this rule, business is no exception. I find that dealing with the business, like dealing with anything else, requires you to listen carefully and understand not only the requests and the rationale for them but also the personal motivations of the people behind the requests.


There are many myths about "business" people - the first is that only "the business" is good at business. Well, only about 20% of business people are really good at business regardless of how you define it. And even out of those, there are other factors besides skill involved. A lot of business is not "business" - it's luck and human nature. And plenty of people who are "good" at business aren't "successful" at it, and plenty who are "successful" but aren't "good" at it.

Look at Steve Jobs. His "business" skills are product-oriented. The things he is good at are not financial problems, or production problems, or operations problems, or any number of other things you may associate with business. He's not a deal-maker CEO, either. This is a completely different motivation and focus than the next business person you may pick.

In the CEO or President role you will see different motivations than in the CFO or COO or CIO roles. Being aware of that is a key to being able to present solutions and strategic options.

IT is just part of the business and the users in IT who understand the business and understand the motivations will succeed beyond those who treat IT as a compartmentalized endeavor. If a CEO has weak technological skills, they will need to be augmented by someone who can provide technology options which can inform, enable or drive strategic initiatives. Even in an enterprise which is not technology driven, some technology (even if it may be considered outdated, like paper and pencil) will be used.

It's important to have IT be a strong partner in the business, through and through. For that to happen, IT people have to listen and learn the business completely.

Because some day you may be running the business.

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