Last post I talked about how the strong cultural bond in IT departments (and nerd/geek culture in general), can damage organizational trust, cohesion, general pleasantness and ultimately profit. Now let’s look at drilling down into the rest of the organization and see if we can’t find some solutions…

Never a truer acronym written in jest

The problem is that critically necessary information, in any situation, is scattered in different departments and at different levels throughout any organization. This is the reason that command and control management does not work any more. It is the reason why managers cannot go into their offices, close the door and write operational plans in splendid isolation. It is the reason why collaborative intelligence is the new gold in our economy.

Now stand back from IT culture, of all types, for a moment. Imagine that you are not special, wonderful, highly-creative, technologically-gifted, but simply people who are part of a world of complexity, needing to collaborate with others, needing knowledge of other perspectives. Needing “Diversity for IT people”.

Would you really want her job?

Let’s drill down into a couple of other departments, and look at their subcultures. Here’s a guy in telemarketing. You probably instinctively despise him, but he gets up every morning and makes 500 calls to people who usually tell him to F*** off. He does this 8 hours a day, for 280 days a year. Without him, your organization wouldn’t work. Your ideas of how his software should work are all very well, but he knows things you don’t know.

Move on to the warehouse. Here’s a 60-year-old lady who tracks and picks and ships thousands of different widgets, none of which you could recognize. Sadly, there is no air-conditioning. Perhaps she knows something you don’t?

Anyone who does not live under a rock knows that technology tools, products, skills and services will dominate our future; no single occupation has all the knowledge required to produce a best-possible solution to any business issue.

As IT understands it’s own culture and sub-cultures, it becomes more able to understand and flex to the cultures around it, building people and thinking skills to serve it’s business partners.

Other disciplines have thinking tools to help. Other occupations have knowledge we need, as badly as they need ours.

Aaah, Science Jokes...

A POTENTIAL solution

This is something I’ve borrowed from Competency and Performance Solutions:


The IQ symbol: critical thinking skills and the varied intelligences that make up cognition. Thinking skills are most useful when one has the conscious ability to use formal thinking tools (SWOTs, decision matrixes, cause and effect analyses, etc.) and understand thinking skills themselves as a toolbox of various skills, to use alone and with other people.

The EQ symbol represents the clusters of skills usually covered by emotional intelligence: the competencies in the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and communication domain. EQ grows with your own interest in, and insights into the self, with a positive, open-minded and non-judgmental exploration of your own needs, values, personality, and ways of relating to others.

The TQ symbol represents technological intelligence, the group of skills, knowledge and attitudes that are an essential part of managing information sharing and collaborative work in the technology-based Age of Knowledge. This is obviously the geek’s strongest card.

Word to the L.T!

So add them all up and you get Collaborative Intelligence. The CQ is this idea that if you are to function in a modern organization, you need to have the full set of “Intelligences”. This may not be as true for the programmer at his desk, but vital for a project manager or any IT person actually aspiring to be something more than a code jockey or cable nerd. The very process of looking at this issue will help adjust peoples’ attitudes and ideas about the bubbles that their alien co-workers semi-coexist in.

Training is another way to handle these types of revaluation moments. A skilled facilitator with a good idea on how to structure an organizational cultural study could help the different groups understand better ways to deal with each other. Training companies all over the country are cashing in on teaching inter-generational understanding because organizations have realized the costs associated with the tensions between the Gen-Ys and the rest of the work force – why can’t we apply this same type of understanding to inter-company cultures. An organization could quite easily sponsor a “bring your nerd to work day” where IT folk could go play in the warehouse for the day or get taught the basics of the HR department.

As IT understands it’s own culture and sub-cultures, it becomes more able to understand and flex to the cultures around it, building people and thinking skills to serve it’s business partners.

My Nerd Credentials

Well if you got this far through this post and you would like to read the rest, remember that this is Part 3 of a three part series, and you can find the others here in Part 1 and Part 2.

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I help cruise lines turn their technical ideas into reality. I'm experienced in all stages of innovation and technology management. I've also been programing since I was 8 years old, and have somehow retained the ability to have normal human interactions. Occasionally I speak about how Industrial Psychology and Neurophysiology can be interrogated with IT and systems management, because I spend a lot of time thinking about the subject, as strange as that may seem.

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Truly Awful LinkedIn Behavior

We all love to hate on the business social network site. Here are current top five annoyances with how the system is used.

The Uber Humble Brag

This is where LinkedIn can out-shine even the worst of what Facebook has to offer. These professional humble brags often cite the team or company as the disguise.

Totally exhausted from working on fixing the last of the software bugs in my Fortune 50’s super important project. Look at the shape of my 5 star hotel on a Swiss mountain top, it’s a mess because I’ve been working so hard.

Please, stop.

The Mr. Masters

If you have an MBA it does not give you a title. Do not use it after your name. If you have a PhD, and or some degree that might have something to do with the professional certifications you are required to have for your job, then I can kind of see how it is acceptable. But never, ever, use your MBA.

InMail Monsters

Typically this networker or sales person sends one of two messages:

Hi Greg,
We don’t know each other, but I we have a lot in common and I’d love to have you in my network.
Sales Person

Or the other equally common:

Hi there,
LinkedIn recommended that we should know each other, so I’m reaching out because we both have legs in common.

Look, I get it. You are using LinkedIn to prospect and sell. I do the exact same myself. But if you are not even bothered to try and squeeze one personal or business related item into your greeting, I’m not buying.

Inspirational Text Image Poster

Image Text Is Annoying

The Things I Hate Poster

Writing about things you hate is often easier than writing about what you are passionate about. Yes, that’s absolutely what I am doing here. Rather than complain, why don’t you go out there and make a difference? Why don’t you go build something better? Because it’s the end of the day on Friday, OK? And I just had the last one of these “I think we should be in the same network” messages, and I cracked.