Technology is a complex and confusing industry and therefore subject to miss-information either by accident or by plan. This post deals with the impact of that complexity and how it has led IT to be influenced by tactics based on creating fear, raising uncertainty and creating doubt in IT capabilities and capacities.
A surprising amount of technology branding and marketing is fundamentally driven by fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD). “No one ever was fired by buying XYZ” “You will not be able to complete if you do not have what everyone else has” “You cannot do that because its either too risky, costs too much, or will take too much time.” Words that hold us back, rather than help us move forward.
Now there is nothing wrong with leaders making a frank and fact based assessment of their capability and capacity before starting a major initiative. Know where you are essential in figuring out how you are going to get to your destination. However, when that need for making an honest assessment is replaced with an all out campaign of fear
Driving the technology market and industry via FUD is detrimental to the industry and individual CIO’s and their IT organizations.
FUD exists because we allow it to exist.
Whenever a vendor or pundit raises the issue of risk, security, or being left behind unless you act now –
Stop the conversation,
Ask them for facts,
Ask them for proven approaches and practices for addressing the issue,
Ask then about the experience of others, etc.
If they cannot answer you clearly, suggest that this meeting is over, because the value portion certainly is.
Your CEO would, why not you?
If they answer with generic considerations, their personal opinion, or the old response “It depends.” Then ask a follow-up question that is specific to your situation. Even if its expressed as a hypothetical, the response will tell you if someone is spreading FUD or providing helpful information.
Sure you will become known as a ‘tough’ leader and someone who does not suffer fools. But who has time to listen to fools with everything else you have to do. But you will do something even more important to your personal and your organization’s success. You will be:
- Replacing FEAR with FACT, that is required to make sound business and technical decisions,
- Replacing UNCERTAINTY with UNITY of purpose involved in achieving real change
- Replacing DOUBT with DECISIONS, in order to take action in the face of challenge and the need to change.
I know that I am setting a high bar, but no one really benefits from FUD.
We have too many important decisions to make and important actions to take to allow FUD into the equation.