Throughout the information age, the corporate I.T. department has stood at the chokepoint of office technology with a firm hand on what equipment and software employees use in the workplace.
They are now in retreat. Employees are bringing in the technology they use at home and demanding the I.T. department accommodate them. The I.T. department often complies.
Some companies have even surrendered to what is being called the consumerization of I.T. At Kraft Foods, the I.T. department’s involvement in choosing technology for employees is limited to handing out a stipend. Employees use the money to buy whatever laptop they want from Best Buy, Amazon.com or the local Apple store.So, should you join the consumerization movement? Maybe. Should you should revise your I.T. polices? Almost certainly. Should you revile your I.T. department? That's a personal decision. But none of those is the lesson I'm shooting for.
What the above story should be telling you is that the biggest bottleneck to productivity in your company is probably...you. It's not just the I.T. department that chokes employee productivity. The productivity of you and the business you're in depends upon the questions that you ask yourself every morning.
What's the difference between the beginning of the above story and the end? In the beginning of the story, the I.T. department was asking, "How can I make things easier for me?" At the end of the story, the I.T. department was asking, "How can I make things easier for my customers (the employees)?" And don't fool yourself. We're not just talking about the I.T department here. Every business branch, every employee, has a tendency to ask themselves, "How can I make things easier for me?"
One of the things I've always admired about Apple is how simple and easy their products are to use. Their products almost always work exactly the the way I think they should. What a gift.
Do you think that Apple creates those products by saying, "how can I make things easier for me?" No way. The question Apple asks is, "how can I make things easier for our customers?" They take responsibility for making our lives less complex. They take responsibility for making our lives easier. They make their lives more complex and they do all the hard work so that we can enjoy the simplicity and the ease of use that their products afford.
Be like Apple. Ask yourself, "how can I make things easier for others?"