What Do You Do When Management Won’t Listen?
By Betsy Burton
What Do You Do When Management Won’t Listen?
I am sure every enterprise architect and business architect have it one time felt frustration because their management is overly focused on tactical current state. Like any good enterprise architect you try to get the company focused on strategic issues, but for one reason another management won’t listen.
There may be good reasons why management won’t listen. There may be overwhelming regulatory or legal issues. There also may be financial reasons, or reasons related to divestitures or acquisitions, that the enterprise architect is unaware of.
However, there may be times when management is unable or unwilling to look at the business from a strategic viewpoint. And thus, are unwilling to listen to the strategic focused advice of an enterprise architect.
I have seen this over and over again in many organizations, as management operates with a focus on immediate tactical and operational issues and the enterprise architecture team is trying to balance this immediate need with future state strategic planning.
So, what do you do?
Throw Up Your Hands in Disgust
The least constructive thing an enterprise architect could do is simply throw up their hands in disgust. It’s understandable how one would get to this place, but it’s not constructive to the organization and it’s not constructive for the well-being of the enterprise architecture team.
But there are more constructive things to do.
Derive a Positive Future State
The best thing that an enterprise architect can do is try to derive and illustrate to management a positive future state that expresses where the business could be going.
Now I’m sure many enterprise architects are questioning how they would know that future state? The reality is your business likely has some future state vision in either executive presentations, financial filings, presentations to investors, or in public declarations.
Take these scattered statements to derive a likely future state vision. And then create deliverables that help your executive team see how the business might evolve towards that future state.
But what If executives refuse to consider that future state and won’t give IT or the enterprise architecture team a seated at the table?
Work as Though the Business has a Defined Future State
If management is unwilling to engage on the future state of the business, the best thing the EA team can do is operate as if the derived future state (mentioned above) is actually the real stated future-state. In other words operate under the guise of your best assessment of the future state.
While this may not be perfect, chances are, some parts of that derived future state is likely to be correct. So at least you have some guide to making investment decisions. Worst case the derived future state is not correct in which case you will still be executing on EA with a strategic focus and you will learn overtime where management wants to focus and not focus.
I know this isn’t easy, but it’s better to operate in a strategic way based on your best derived future state than solely operate tactically.
Find Management That Is Receptive
Another good strategy is to find parts of the business where business leaders are open to your help.
Find a strategic part of the organization where they may be trying to transform the business or modernize the business and see if they are receptive to your help. Offer to help create deliverables that would guide some of their investment decisions.
This is a difficult path to take as well because you don’t want to circumvent or alienate your current management, but you do want to find opportunities to help your organization.
If you go down this path, you will likely need to keep supporting your existing management with more tactical requests, and help out other parts of the organization as you can.
The key is to get some wins across the business that you can bring back to management.
Don’t give up.
It is essential that enterprise architects use a careful balancing of future state and current state focus to help their business make investment decisions. This does not mean that everything an enterprise architect does is strategic, or that everything the enterprise architecture team does is tactical.
The value of EA is achieved by helping the organization deliver business outcomes that are strategic and operational. If your management is unwilling to look at the strategic, the best option is to keep operating with the balance of strategic and operational in the hopes of bringing them along.
tPaaS- the market that can help drive your digital business transformation!
tPaaS–The Market Required for Digital Business Transformation
Digital business transformation is critically needed by many organizations to effectively compete in this digital world. However, traditional iPaaS services lack the business strategy and architecture tools and advisory services required to transform their business models, and operations.
In this webinar, we highlight what it means to support business transformation, explore our market definition for the Transformation Platform as a Service (tPaaS) market, and identify a cross-section of vendors that are focused on delivering services to support this market. If your organization is looking to enable digital business transformation or seeking the next level of iPaaS support, this webinar is a must attend.
- Why are the needs of business transformation so specific that organizations need a new market of service providers?
- What are the critical capabilities of the tPaaS market?
- Which providers are the leading and lagging providers of tPaaS services?