We are living through one of the most polarized and angry times in our country and around the world. People have formed opinions and then retreated behind the walls of those opinions, casting blame and aspersion on those who disagree. Sure, I’d like things to always go my way, but they never do. But here’s the spoiler alert – we are better off together when we discuss our differences and find the middle way. You know you’ve found a solid compromise if all parties walk away feeling less than fully satisfied. While that doesn’t sound great, it will yield the best long-term results for everyone involved.
Here’s a real life example. An Information Security team had significant concerns about a potential technology/ architecture solution. The team that needed the technology (I’ll call the “customer”) was adamant that it needed to be done in one way. The InfoSec team said that was a hard no. Now, if they behaved like we Americans are now behaving in the public/political arena, each party would have walked away, demonizing the other in social media and drawing a hard line, sitting with their arms folded across their chests and refusing to budge a millimeter. But that’s not what happened. The teams were committed to finding a mutually agreeable solution. That’s key and that’s really the bottom line. If you have THAT, you will absolutely find a solution that works. Period.
The teams continued to poke and prod the problem. They looked at it from all angles. They drew new diagrams on a white board, erased and re-drew. This went on for a couple of hours. They emerged from the conference room excited and energized. Not only had they solved the problem from both the InfoSec and the Customer perspectives, they had come up with an altogether better solution. It was simple, it was elegant, it was effective and it met all requirements. They had collaborated on finding a solution and it was truly a work of art.
So, to all of us who feel that we need to sit in our respective corners and dig a deeper trench, I challenge you to stop and think about what outcome you really want. For these teams, they wanted a solution that met everyone’s requirements, so they worked together to achieve it. There was no option to not solve the problem. In American politics these days, we all seem to think we have the option to not solve these problems together and that is wrong-headed. We are in this together and we can find acceptable solutions. In some cases, when we do manage to collaborate, we may step back in awe and wonder at the incredibly creative and innovative solutions we find to our most intractable problems.
We can do better than this.
We must do better than this.
Our future depends on it.
I'm in, I hope you are too.
Now, back to IT in my next post.