When I have the opportunity to visit with key suppliers or with another IT leader, I love to hear how others are doing the same things that we do. I don’t ever want to think that we’ve got the perfect solution and that our way is THE way to do it. I feel this so strongly that I tell some IT vendors that if they think we are doing it wrong, or they’ve seen a better way or if we just don’t get it, that I expect them to speak up and tell us. I want and need to hear all the good ideas I can find and then we need to put them into the mix to address our problems.
Usually, it is not a big deal when companies choose different email systems. However, it is a completely different matter to see a company use an entirely different process from yours that still gets them to a similar end point. When another group tackles the same problem you have and they solve it in a completely different manner, then likely you can learn from that difference.
IT leaders have got to seek out these learning opportunities.
IT runs the risk of pouring concrete everywhere including in their own minds. Decisions made years ago, based on conditions then, may no longer be relevant or correct, but the decision was made and IT has made up its mind. Instead, we’ve got to be plugged into ideas from conferences, from colleagues and from on-line resources. We’ve got to challenge our own IT thought leaders to challenge each other and keep plugged into what is going on out there.
I frequently see articles about how to have an innovative culture, but perhaps a key first step and what might get you far down that path is just listening to what others are doing. You can learn a lot by just listening.