Just read an interesting analysis by George Friedman over at Stratfor: The Roots of the Government Shutdown. He ascribes the shutdown as an unintended consequence of the change of the US political landscape from a political boss system to a money-lobby driven system. And the confusion of principles with ideology. We have transformed from a principled people, to ideologues.
Everyone disparages Washington DC for this kind of behavior, but my observation from Facebook and other venues is that the behavior of no-holds barred stand your ground on principles and ideology is rampant in our society, fueled by online media (Facebook, blogs), as well as traditional media (Fox News).
Now this is not normal territory for a Gartner Blog topic, but I bring it up because my Research Agenda in Gartner is “Professional Effectiveness”. Sure, we talk about influence, persuasion, the power of the individual because of the internet, career topics, and the failure of the hiring process. Anything that can make the IT Professional more effective. For a quick look of our Professional Effectiveness research, go to “GTPCareer.com” – that provides an overview; any further exploration and you’ll need a Gartner ID.
Professional Effectiveness is not just about your career, or your ability to get the job done. It’s also about understanding what’s happening in society, and business, that affects how you do your job – like my upcoming research on best practices for online/anytime/anywhere work (which – HP and Yahoo aside – is an inevitable growing trend). We need to think about our impact in a world where what you say can be read by millions within minutes of posting, but what that also means to how you do your job, and your business peers do theirs .
As I watch Facebook discussions around US politics (Obamacare, mayoral elections) degenerate into the kind of standoff we see in DC, it occurs to me that our ability to connect is central to how we develop real, impactful business systems – whether it’s how you interrelate with your business partner, or convey requirements to your subcontractor or outsourcer. How you integrate that latest SaaS app, whose roots were in a business area “shadow IT” skunk works. And how you connect with your boss and peers. What’s happening is DC is just a mirror to ourselves and how we interrelate – at home or business.
And for my international friends, don’t think this kind of behavior is a uniquely American phenomenon (which, if you agree, refutes Friedman’s analysis). The level of discourse internationally – whether it be about Arab springs, Roma settlements, unemployment, or Olympic spending inequalities, is worldwide. That’s not to say that human disagreements has always been relatively civil up until now — just that it is starting to take a particularly significant unpleasant turn; my hypothesis is that is a consequence of Internet side effects.
So the roots of the US government shutdown help me realize that what we do with our professional effectiveness research is, in some ways, understanding how we avoid the kind of behavior in our daily lives in business that leads to dysfunctional organizations.
That’s what me and my colleagues – Mike Rollings, Jamie Popkin, and others at Gartner that contribute to our research, do. We are the Corporate Dysfunction trouble shooters, AKA the Enterprise Collaboration Shutdown avoidance team…
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