Cognitive Dissonance & IT

Cognitive Dissonance has been defined on Wikipedia as an “uncomfortable tension caused by holding contradictory thoughts simultaneously“. A similar definition is found on, among many other websites.

Ever found yourself  ‘afflicted’ with cognitive dissonance?  Sure you have.

Do you speed during your commute to work?  Intellecutally, you know its wrong but you do it any way.

Do you smoke?  Again…intellectually you know its bad for your health but you continue to smoke.

What about your use of social media?  Sure you understand (and believe) that social media is a place to build relationships with your clients / customers, yet you still approach social outlets with your old ‘pitch and blast’ methods of talking at your clients instead of talking with them.

Cognitive Dissonance results when an individual (or organization) has to choose between attitudes and behaviors that are contradictory.

This occurs daily in the world of IT doesn’t it?

Think about it…your Marketing and Communications team need to live in the social media space these days yet many IT teams have disabled access to all social networks because of ‘productivity’ issues.  This approach creates cognitive dissonance in a big way…it forces the marketing team to have to choose between following IT standards or breaking those standards and using these platforms.

Another example – The IT group forces users to use the IT helpdesk for any service requests.  Except for when its ‘really’ important or if the requester is someone ‘important’.  So….what do people do?  Do they call the helpdesk and wait for 2 days to get their minor computer issue working or do they make the issue more important than it is?  Or do they escalate to their boss (who escaltes to her boss, etc) and get IT to fix the issue now?  This happens every day in every organization and it happens because its allowed to.  It happens because the IT group has allowed the ‘important’ people to have their issues addressed differently than the ‘regular’ folks.

This mentality creates dissonance…everyone knows they should follow the procedure but they also know it will take too long so they call their buddy to get the problem solved.  I’ve done it. You’ve done it..everyone does it.

What can IT do?  Remove the contradictions. Remove the exceptions.  Everyone goes through the same process.

Removing Cognitive Dissonance

To get rid of Cognitive Dissonance, you’ve got to make sure you aren’t confusing your customers with options that are contradictory.

You’ve got to remove contradiction from your processes to make them mirror the reality of business today. That’s a tall order for most organizations…but its a necessary one.

Make it easy for yourself and the organization to make decisions…take the contradictions away as soon as you can.

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Links for Feb 28 2010

To Grow a Company, You Need to be Good at Killing Things by Auren Hoffman on Summation

Why IT Shouldn’t Be Involved in Marketing Software Decisions by Matt Sullivan on HubSpot‘s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog

Why IT SHOULD Be Involved in Marketing Software Decisions by Jenn Steele on HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog

Don’t Just Stand There, Make a Difference by Kevin Eikenberry on Kevin’s Blog

Office politics will eat management strategy for breakfast by Scot Herrick on Cube Rules

It Turns Out That Top-Down Decisions Are What CIOs Need To Make by Dr. Jim Anderson on The Accidental Successful CIO

The Machiavellian Guide to Enterprise 2.0 by Mark Fidelman on CloudAve

Why clear strategy is so important to innovators by Jeffrey Phillips on Innovate on Purpose

Curse of the IT prima donna by Michael Krigsman on Enterprise Irregulars

What Happened to the Talent? by Steve Roesler on All Things Workplace

Organization: the business decisions that drive IT costs by Mark McDonald on The Gartner Blog Network

Website Optimization

In July, I was approached by Andy King to see if I’d be interested in reviewing his new book from O’Reilly titled “Website Optimization: Speed, Search Engine & Conversion Rate Secrets“.

If you don’t know who Andy is, go read his resume….I’ll wait….OK…you back?    Great pedigree right?  Been involved in the web since 1993.  Founded and in 1997.  It’s safe to say he knows his stuff.

When Andy approached me, I was skeptical initially….could I do this book justice?  I’ve got a technical background and have been around the web since 1995 but I know very little about Search Engine Optimization…then I look at the synopsis of the book and realized that this is about much more than SEO.

This book does more than talk about the basics of SEO.  It dives into topics that go well beyond the ‘technical’ aspects (e.g., keywords, titles, etc) and talks about persuasive language, fast load times and engaging websites. Once I saw this, I was very intrigued and told Andy that I’d be happy to review the book.

I’m glad I said yes.  The book is excellent…and from what I’ve seen, it is THE book on Website Optimization. Gone are the days of scouring the web for bits and pieces of info on how to optimize….this book contains it all.

Unlike most other books in this genre, this book is much more than just an overview of the concepts of website optimization. Detailed descriptions, case studies and in-depth discussions of the ‘why, what and how’ of optimization are provided to allow the reader to immediately take action with their own websites.

For those of you interested in the entire spectrum of website optimization (i.e., page load times, search engine friendliness, optimization techniques etc), this is the book for you.  I expect that this book will be THE website optimization book for years to come.

Now….I need to start using the recommendations from the book on my blog! 🙂

NOTE: This book was provided by the author for review.

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