How to Get Other Departments to Listen to IT

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Tech Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for IT pros

Monday, November 11, 2019

The chances of other departments listening to you are slim, so to fix this, you need to focus your energy on building synergistic relationships. Read on for more tips on how to convince other business departments to listen to IT.

Article 5 Minutes
Managers from different business departments surrounding the IT manager and listening to him

It goes without saying that more often than not, getting other departments to listen to IT and implement changes is easier said than done.

Are you trying to achieve greater synergy between the IT department and the rest of your organization?

Synergy, they say, is the key to achieving success, which is always the case when it comes to IT and other departments. When you factor in the pace at which the IT landscape is constantly evolving, you get a better understanding of the need to work together in harmony.

As the manager of your IT department, having a cordial working relationship with not only the heads but also members of other departments cannot be overstated. We’ve put together a few tips to assist you in getting every other department up to speed, including those that aren’t overly tech savvy.

The challenge of convincing other departments to listen to IT

This is arguably the Achilles heel of most IT departments; there have been cases where you and your team came up with wonderful, implementable ideas to improve the lives of everyone involved in your organization but for some reason, other departments are reluctant to implement or in extreme cases even consider your ideas.

According to a report by The Balance Careers, the natural reaction of employees to change is resistance; the odds of other departments resisting new ideas from you is amplified when they’re poorly introduced in general. It goes without saying that IT in itself is a catalyst of change; this means that your IT department is expected and tasked with making changes and upgrades to your organization regularly.

3 strategies to convince other departments to take IT seriously

Getting other departments to listen to what needs to be done isn’t easy. Here are 3 strategies you can implement to get other departments on board with what needs to change:

1. Know your audience

This is perhaps the most underrated tip to ensuring that other departments listen to you. The way you’ll go about working with the Finance Department is different from how you’ll present new ideas to HR.

As an IT professional, when synergizing with other departments, it’s important to tailor your pitch to that particular department; whether it’s convincing them that the new update you’re proposing will make their work more efficient or that it’ll make them more money in terms of bonuses, just ensure that you find out what motivates them and use their emotions to your advantage.

Approaching other departments is trickier than it should be as some of your co-workers may be among the most educated and experienced people in your organization. This is both good and bad; nobody likes being talked down to, and this is especially the case with older co-workers. This means altering your approach depending on seniority and level of experience.

2. Make it their idea

As humans, we’re bound to favor decisions we make for ourselves with as little external influence as possible, and the most effective way to ensure a smooth working relationship with other departments is to make it seem as though your suggestions and updates are their ideas.

Instead of trying to force new changes down the throat of other departments, you can simply drop subtle hints and sooner or later they’ll get the message. A good way to go about this is by making use of ambitious, dynamic members of each department to spread the word and convince those that matter that your department is worth listening to.

Keep this in mind the next time you want to suggest new budgeting software to the people in finance or a revolutionary HR control tool to the Talent Managers.

3. Leave your ideas open-ended

Avoid setting implementation plans in stone. Once you’ve completed a new update and you’re ready to implement, try involving the departments that matter in the decision-making process. You can involve them in most things from the timeline of installation and updates - in the case of software - to the training of department members.

After all is said and done, we have to understand that other departments aren’t our enemies, they’re just looking out for what they feel is best for them and the moment you make them feel part of the decision-making process, they’ll play nicer.

Creation of inter-departmental engagement milestones

In the process of developing a cordial relationship between your IT department and the rest of the business, it’s important to set engagement milestones to enable you to track every stage of the synergy process.

It’s important to keep in mind that for other departments to want to listen to you, having a good working relationship is important. IT should endeavor to make frequent contact with other departments not just when they need to inform them about new changes.

Consider sending two or more IT associates to different departments a few times each quarter. Their primary tasks should be listening to the members of these departments and helping out in minor tasks which is bound to foster inclusiveness. Setting achievable inter-departmental engagement milestones cannot be overstated on your quest to getting other departments to listen to you.

Summary

There’s no set formula when it comes to getting other departments to listen to you. It’s important to keep in mind that people are different, and some departments may be more open to change and listening to you than others. This doesn’t mean that those that are less willing to listen are lazy; all it means is that you have your job cut out for you in terms of convincing them to work with you.

For more research and statistics about the current state of IT, click here.

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