On a recent trip I had a layover in a major airport. I had just a few minutes before the next plane started to board. But I was starving and decided to get something to go from a major food chain in the terminal.
I ordered chicken strips and rice to go and started making my way to the gate.
While walking to the gate it occurred to me to look in the bag to make sure I had dipping sauce (after all, you MUST have dipping sauce for chicken strips!).
I realized there was no sauce, nor a fork or a napkin.
So I rushed back to the restaurant as the loudspeaker announced that my flight was now boarding.
Things are getting scary
I got the attention of one of the workers and asked if there were any dipping sauces. She responds “yes” – and I’m waiting for her to finish the sentence. You know, tell me what kind of sauces you have and ask me which one I want. She just stares at me.
So I ask her to tell me the flavors of sauces, which she does. But she does so in a disinterested way and shows no interest in serving me. So I tell her which flavor I want and she goes off somewhere to get the sauce.
She comes back a few minutes later with the sauce and I ask her about the fork. She just points in a general direction that is obvious to her but clueless to me. So I head over in that direction and finally locate the forks behind some other condiment items.
In the Twilight Zone
By this time I’m wondering if I’m in the Twilight Zone or something. Did I just have an encounter with a zombie?
What happened to customer service? What about being engaged with your customer? That lackluster experience left a lot to be desired and certainly created a bad impression for that restaurant chain.
I ran to my gate and as I stood in line to board, I tried to parse things out. Why did this experience have to be so difficult? Why didn’t the staff provide what they knew I would need in the first place? And why when I went back for help was I met with disinterest and apathy?
Zombies haunting your IT department?
And as I replayed the incident I thought about how we in IT can treat our business partners in similar ways. We get focused on our own agenda or we aren’t curious enough to really understand our business partners’ needs and concerns. So we end up delivering the wrong things, or not delivering at all.
So as we approach this Halloween season, I’d like to put the challenge out to all IT leaders: ask yourself if you have a zombie culture within your IT organization:
- Is your IT staff engaged with your business partners in a way that meets business objectives?
- Are your IT folks focused on their agenda instead of a collaborative partnership with your business stakeholders?
- Do your business partners view IT as a necessary evil rather than a trusted partner and adviser?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you may have some zombies lurking in your IT department. It’s time to disinfect your organization of these zombies before they completely take over and you end up needing to find another job! Now that’s a scary thought!