Trust and IT

What is the one thing that is holding us back in IT?  What is the one thing that is preventing us from achieving great things for ourselves and our clients?


In The Leadership Challenge, authors James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner state:

. the winning strategies will be based on a “We not I” philosophy.  However, “we” can’t happen without trust.  It’s the central issue in human relationships.  Without trust you cannot lead.  Without trust you can’t get people to believe in you or in each other.  Without trust you cannot accomplish extraordinary things.

In the same book Kouzes and Posner talk about the characteristics most looked for in a leader.  The number one characteristic?  Honesty.  You can’t trust someone that you feel is being dishonest with you.  How can you inspire a shared vision if no one trusts you?  How can you believe in someone else’s vision if you don’t trust them?

It’s amazing how so many issues in IT are related to trust issues.  We put in place all sorts of walls and stop-gap measures and rules and procedures and paperwork . all because we don’t trust the other person.  Granted, in some cases that trust has been abused and that is why we’ve implemented the procedures.  I can go through dozens of stories as to why the rules in the DeCo application my team uses are in place and why we insist on certain things before proceeding.  If people had not taken advantage of our trusting nature DeCo would be a much simpler tool and the rules could be written on a playing card.  But we had to pull back our trust and not just for one person, but for everyone.  We had to assume that people were trying to circumvent the rules so we put in place processes to check and see if they were.

In essence my team ended up distrusting everyone because of a number of incidents.

You can extrapolate that out to the rest of the interactions between IT groups within a ministry and between ministries.  In some cases, the trust was broken and in other cases paranoia set in so that the distrust appeared before anyone had an opportunity to break the trust.  I’d like to say that things are getting better, that IT groups are trusting each other both intra- and inter-ministry.

I’d like to say it.

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