Connect with the business

One of the biggest problems for EAs is their lack of connection to real business decision makers. Sure, architects frequently interact with business project managers in the context of an ongoing project, but they rarely work at the business strategy level discussing business models, capabilities, or market strategy. Ask yourself this question: “How much time do I spend directly interacting with someone in the business on a topic not related to an ongoing project?”  DOUBLE IT!

Read business books to increase your business IQ.

Architects have deep technical skills and expend most of their discretionary time and money enhancing their already significant technical knowledge rather than branching out into developing their leadership and business acumen. Successful architects in the future must be business savvy. Don’t have the time? Think again. The average business book is less than 300 pages. Ten pages a day (about 20 minutes for most) will net 12 books a year. A quick search on Amazon.com returns just short of two million business books, see our reading list for business architects to get you started.

What will you learn? Here are just a few of things I got from reading business books:

Good to Great by Jim Collins – I learned about the hedgehog concept. Finding that one thing the organization is passionate about, can be the best in their industry at, and drives their value creation engine. This led me to change my strategy from selling EA to offering innovative EA services that my consumers really wanted. 

Crossing The Chasm by Geoffrey Moore – Taught me about the chasm between innovators and the mainstream adopters. I followed Moore’s advice to build reference accounts and used them to market new services to others. This became the primary method we used to introduce new architectures and technologies into our client base.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – I learned about the organizational change model exploited by William Bratton which became the foundation of my organization’s transformation from being “outside driven” to creating our own destiny. 

And much, much more. You can’t get a complete one-book guide to understanding how business works but you can begin peeling back the onion and learning about business from different multiple perspectives. START READING NOW!