I have seen the enemy—and it’s not IT

How to overcome barriers like turf, politics and inertia.

They have so much work to do together, especially these days, but their relationship is often awkward and strained.

They act like rivals when they should be allies. Each thinks the other a total bonehead.

I experienced this firsthand with one of our clients. We’re helping them design and create good content for their new SharePoint intranet site.

Our first meeting included the head of IT and one of her main men, Tony. The two communication leads were there, along with two of their young staffers. And me.

The mood: Wary, suspicious. Circling each other like Sumo wrestlers, but with more clothing.

The air was thick with words unsaid. Rarely do people call each other jerks and a-holes in a business setting. The insults are subtle. People say things like, “What you don’t understand is …” (You have no idea what you’re doing, idiot!) and “Let me play the devil’s advocate.” (You are so wrong about this it makes me wonder how you stay employed!)

Everyone in the room seemed irritated. I glanced over at the two young communication staffers. They looked completely freaked. In fact, they never spoke a word throughout the two-hour meeting.

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