Leadership coach Susan Cramm wrote a great Harvard Business Review blog called ‘IT and Business Leaders: Getting Along Is Not Enough’ (see http://tinyurl.com/ybfzhn8). I agreed with much of it but I feel the business side gets off lightly again.
Business shouldn’t be expected to speak in and understand IT language, any more than people in business should be expected to understand manufacturing engineers, designers, marketeers or HR (nobody understands HR). If you try to be hip and knowledgeable about your kids’ culture, you’ll only appear faintly (or very) ridiculous.
On the other hand IT people are part of the business. It is IT’s responsibility to understand the business, where it is headed, what it does, what it needs. Kids exist as a sub-culture within society – they need to know how it works.
So I don’t think the getting-to-know-you obligations Susan describes are symmetric. IT needs to know business more than business needs to know IT. Where the business has fallen down is NOT in understanding IT. That’s a big ask.
Organisations have fallen down in "parenting IT” in two areas: