By show of hands, how many of you have an “IT” person on your senior management team? Is the most senior IT person in your organization part of the executive management team, or do they report to someone else who is on the executive management team?

What I see far too often is organizations will have their chief technology person (say, an IT director) reporting to the chief operating officer. The COO sits on the executive team, but not the IT director. I think this is a mistake for three reasons:

  1. It sends a not-so-subtle message to the rest of staff that IT is an afterthought, or not critical to the overall functioning of the organization.
  2. It keeps the IT folks out of the information loop. Let’s face it, no matter how good communication is between the IT director and the COO (for example), it’s not the same as being at the table.
  3. It keeps the IT folks thinking that their job is to “serve staff” like a mechanic taking orders, rather than a diagnostician helping to solve organization problems.

The most successful organizations don’t just give lip service to including IT at the table; they actually have them there. What about your organization? Does IT get the respect it deserves?