5 min read ⌚
Why Business and Technology Professionals Don’t Understand Each Other and Why They Need Each Other to Survive
Times have changed.
Drop the conventional division between “geeks,” or technology professionals and “suits,” or business managers, and get them to work together.
We promise you – it will save you a ton of money!
Who Should Read “The Geek Gap”? and Why?
“Geeks” and “suits” have always had a conflict.
However, this conflict leads to unnecessary expenses tied to failed IT projects.
Although many people assume that these people are too different for them to work together, authors Minda Zetlin and Bill Pfleging disagree, and propose just that.
We recommend “The Geek Gap” to managers and technicians who need to learn how to communicate and bury the hatchets.
About Bill Pﬂeging and Minda Zetlin
Authors Bill Pﬂeging and Minda Zetlin are not only a husband and wife but a geek-and-suit combo as well.
Pﬂeging is a Web and computer consultant.
Zetlin is a business writer.
“The Geek Gap Summary”
Suits and geeks have different priorities and different perceptions, so it is safe to say that they live in completely different worlds.
These differences make them unable to communicate clearly, and the miscommunication further leads to mistrust and lack of respect for each other.
This geek gap has existed for ages now. Just think of people like Galileo Galilei against whom the Catholic Church conducted an inquisition just because he agreed with the findings of Copernicus that the Earth spins around the sun. Galilei had to recant, but other scientists had it even worse, like for example Giordano Bruno who was burned by the Church because he was advocating a Copernican theory.
Thankfully, nowadays things are easier for geeks.
Not only they are no longer repressed, with their thoughts limited, but they are becoming irreplaceable in the modern companies.
The times bring about technological advancements which make business more technical, and hence companies increasingly depend on geeks.
Or, you could say that suits depend on geeks.
However, this dependence is not one-sided.
No matter how good geeks are, they need successful suits to manage the companies in which they work.
The problem is that suits and geeks cannot see that they need each other.
The dot-com collapse and the financial instability which led to job cutbacks, only made matters worse. Corporate leaders and suits reduced the number of geeks they hire, although they need them more than ever.
As a result, geeks overwork themselves, having 12-hour shifts, and chase after demanding deadlines for big, all-consuming projects.
They feel tired and angry.
This builds up the resentment they feel for the suits for creating such a situation in which they are overburdened with work.
They also complain about the fact that executives rarely, if ever, make any effort to learn about the technology, and seek for answers to clueless questions from geeks, who already have too much on their plates.
If you ask the managers, on the other hand, they will tell you that IT geeks are arrogant and unbearable. They feel as if geeks look down on everyone who is not familiar with technology.
You could say that geeks and suits are in an ongoing war, just because of their different views.
But this “war” should not be taken lightly and is not without consequences.
In fact, businesses lose tons of money on failed IT projects. But, money is not the only loss there is. Some wars have human casualties as well!
So, if the stakes are that high, then is there really no way to make these people bury the hatchet?
Authors Bill Pfleging and Minda Zetlin say there is.
It may be true that the suits and geeks value and prioritize things differently, but so do many people on this planet, and they seem to be getting along fine.
The answer to this problems lies in getting both geeks and suits to see their wrong notions about each other and correct them. We will list some of the wrong ideas suits and geeks have about each other in the key lessons below.
Key Lessons from “The Geek Gap”
1. Common Gripes Suits Have Against Geeks
2. What Geeks Find Irritating About Suits
3. Close the Gap
Common Gripes Suits Have Against Geeks
We already listed some of the things that suits think about geeks. Below we give you a few more misconceptions they have about them:
- “Geeks don’t understand – or want to understand – anything about the businesses they work in.”
- “Geeks love technology for its own sake.”
- “Geeks expect – sometimes demand – that suits understand as much as they do about technology.”
- “Geeks can never seem to meet deadlines or stay within budgets.”
- “Geeks think rules shouldn’t apply to them.”
- “Geeks are bad with people.”
What Geeks Find Irritating About Suits
Geeks are no better – they do not like suits as much as suits don’t like them. They feel irritated because of a number of reasons:
- “Suits refuse to learn anything about technology.”
- “Suits who don’t understand technology nevertheless insist on making technological pronouncements.”
- “Suits don’t value technology.”
- “All suits care about is money.”
- “Suits resist innovation.”
- “Suits value image over substance.”
Close the Gap
Of course, just like with most things in this world, compromise is possible. We are giving you a few suggestions you can use to close the gap between suits and geeks in your company.
- “Avoid or mitigate policies that actually separate geeks and suits
- “Create multiple points of contact.”
- “Get geeks involved in projects from the start.”
- “Keep geeks in the business loop.”
- “‘Federalize’ IT”
- “Encourage geeks and suits to trade jobs, even if temporarily”
- “Find ways to build respect
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“The Geek Gap” QuotesThe Geek Gap is a deeply rooted, seemingly intractable problem that goes all the way back to the days of Galileo. Click To Tweet The ‘vending-machine approach’ refers to the belief by some business people that they can drop in money and instructions, and the technology they want will pop out as if from a dispenser. Click To Tweet Today, more than three-quarters of technology spending is on workplace technology. Click To Tweet Suits tend to assume that geeks are oddballs who are prone to erratic behavior. Click To Tweet Stressing ‘solution’ over ‘technology’ is the kind of management-speak that can set geeks to playing Buzzword Bingo, in which geeks keep track of buzzwords used by suits during meetings. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
“The Geek Gap” proposes workable solutions that companies can implement to solve the ongoing antagonism between geeks and suits and to get them to work together finally.
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