Stop Gambling On New Technology To Change Your Company's Culture

I’ve spent most of my career working with IT people making IT decisions on behalf of people who use technology for work. What I love about IT people is their utter devotion to the idea that technology can profoundly change how people work. To improve their productivity, to remove barriers to collaboration, to spark groundswell innovation, and more. Just the other day, I spoke to one named Fred who said to me: “We’re introducing new technologies to change the culture of our organization.”

What a courageous and inspirational idea coming from an IT leader. We’ll just assume he meant to add “…for the better.”

I hear stuff like this all the time, particularly when Content & Collaboration Professionals are planning major initiatives for social technologies, mobile technologies, and collaboration tools inside companies with market caps that dwarf the GDP of entire countries. Big ones. And of course I hear it in the tech trade mags I read, at conferences, and from human capital people fretting about baby boomers turning into octogenarians, and the nano-toting-angry-birds-playing, malcontent Millennials sporting ADD-like technology tendencies at work. I’ll work for a Millennial one day. I’m not critiquing. Just observing.

So back to Fred. Assuming like me you work around folks from IT, I’ll ask: will Fred succeed?

Personally, I don’t gamble in casinos, but I do at work. I place bets on people I hire, budget dollars I spend, arguments I think I’ll win (but often lose), and even on the research ideas analysts on my team come to me with. After all, with luck, the right bets will put my three kids through school someday.

But I’m not betting on Fred.

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