How Your Department Should React When Top Management Challenges IT Organization Vision and Goals

We all know this scenario: the IT Department has come up with a program of action for the
IT organization regarding enterprise-wide vision and goals. However, what happens when top
management challenges this program of action? How does the IT Department deal with that?

First off, it never pays to make a knee-jerk reaction. The IT Department should go back over
the program of action they came up with and compare this with the statements released by
top management about it. Where is the difference?

The problem usually lies in the fact that the IT Department may be looking at
enterprise-wide vision and goals from the point of view of IT specialists only. You cannot
really fault IT specialists for this because this is their field of expertise. The problem
could also lie with top management, for failing to see how the IT Department has designed
the system to be aligned with top management aims (particularly if these are
business-oriented aims.)

In the field of Philosophy, it is said that all problems can essentially be boiled down to
a problem of language – so it takes someone with a clear understanding of the semantics of
IT language and business language to see where the pitfalls in the situation lie and where
misunderstanding may have cropped up. Sometimes, all that really happened was that the IT
Department expressed themselves in language that the members of top management were not
familiar with.

Of course, in any misunderstanding, it takes two parties to create an argument. So members
of both the IT Department and top management should make an effort to come to an
understanding, rather than be hardliners who take a hostile or defensive approach to the
situation.

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