Monday, April 29, 2019

Practicing Creative Communication to Bridge IT-Business Gaps

Creative communication is the bridge between abstract and concrete; vision and reality; art and science.

Due to an unprecedented level of uncertainty, velocity, ambiguity, and complexity, misunderstanding, misinterpretation or miscommunication are the big causes of many business issues and human problem in our society. Usually, IT-business gap is caused by miscommunication, communication clarity directly impacts on the business effectiveness and organizational maturity. Besides technical dialect or finance language, should IT leaders practice creative communication to close IT-business chasm, enforce business relationship and promote IT as a trustful business partner?

Communicate via visual presentations, either by showing data-supported charts or telling vivid stories: As the saying goes, the picture is worth a thousand words. The visual presentation or vivid stories are interesting enough to engage others, meaningful enough to touch the hearts, logical enough to connect the minds, and persuasive enough to get the audience’s buy-in. IT leaders often play the role of a translator between the business and IT; they need to demonstrate in very tangible ways that IT understands the business, and fortunately, there are ways for doing so. They must straddle concepts and translate language between the business and technical jargon to avoid “lost in translation” symptom. To harness communication effectiveness, they even need to take further steps, experiments with a more creative way to communicate, in order to demonstrate either abstract thoughts or technical concepts vividly and persuasively. As a matter of fact, the best way to promote IT is to leverage critical thinking and creative thinking, communicate frequently and proactively, convey clear messages and build trustful relationships and co-solve common business problems collaboratively.

Analogies are also a powerful tool for communicating with technical IT professionals and non-technical business functions: Language is the tool to express thoughts. Language and its expression of the thinking process change because of its relativity of context. Psychologically, creative, metaphorical, and poetic impulses and language congeal over time into systems of thought for provoking imagination and deepening understanding. Metaphorical communication helps to articulate complex concepts through creative expression or telling a vivid story, to clarify abstract concepts and connect with heterogeneous audience closely. Today’s digital workforce is multigenerational, multi-talented and multicultural, practicing creative communication can share insight by bridging cognitive gaps, and being institutionalized, systematized, and professionalized.

The vital business communication should embrace creativity, context, cascade, and tailor varying business audience: Running a highly responsive IT organization needs to get support from boardrooms, varying business functions, and customers. IT leaders need to be creative and persuasive in order to get their ideas approved and funded. They shouldn’t just use a single communication methodology but practice creative communication and persuasive skills to amplify their leadership voice. They should participate in varying business dialogs either for exchanging great ideas or marketing IT value proposition, engage in communication and changes. IT oversees business functions and structure, it’s important to have open door time for people to come and discuss their concerns and show the openness via the open-ended questioning, creative problem-solving brainstorming, or innovative communicating. All functions in the business enjoy working with IT and IT can build a solid reputation as a strategic business partner.

Creative communication is the bridge between abstract and concrete; vision and reality; art and science. The digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. To reinvent IT from a support function to an innovation hub and digital engine of the digital organization, CIOs need to be a great communicator for bridging the gap between IT and business by conveying technological vision at the boardroom, practicing creative communication to get “buy-in” from the business, having empathetic conversations with customers, and listening to technical issues addressed by IT staff. Communication is both art and science, creative communication is inspiring and persuasive. The very goal of communication is to convey, connect, inspire and motivate people to achieve the well-set goals and improve the organizational performance and maturity.


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