Walking a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes

I read a really good article today that took me to a slightly different place than the author probably intended for me to go to. Although, because of the overall message, I’m pretty sure that he wouldn’t mind.

“When IT’s Success Is A Flop”

As a part of his treatment of the subject, he talks about how there can be numerous reasons why an IT project might fail, and theyr’e not always obvious. Basically, many people may have a different idea of what “success” means, and depending on your perspective, one person’s “success,” may be another person’s, “aw, man… I need a new job.”

So, it’s really important, no matter what business you’re in, to really keep an open mind about everything that’s going on around you. You can frequently avoid an office land mine by just being aware and thinking about how someone else might see something that’s taking place.

I’ve frequently advocated that leaders should always work out on the production floor or sit in the cubicle farm for a while. They need that perspective to operate effectively as a leader. As soon as a leader forgets what that perspective looks like, it becomes hard to think like an employee and you have no ability to empathize.

And, you can apply all of this to department on department interactions. Spend time with the IT people, or the design people. At least understand their world a little bit, and also get a little bit a personal connection with them. When conflict arises, it’s a lot easier to bark at someone you barely know or don’t know at all; it’s a lot easier to see another person’s perspective when you have some degree of connection with them.

Sometimes, success in business–and for that matter, life–is being able to step outside of your comfort zone and look at how another person lives.

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