>Ruminations and Enterprise Architecture


The Wall Street Journal, 23 October 2007 states: “at work there are countless things you should and could and would have said. But the tormenting fact is, you didn’t. So hemmed in by forces such as the fragility of reputations, your dependence on a paycheck, or even just slow-footedness, you re-enact one of the countless little workplace defeats in the confines of your head.”

Ruminations—“the process of chewing over old conversations.” This is sort of like 20-20 hindsight, again and again; thinking or saying to yourself, “If only…”

How often do you replay incidents over and over again in your mind? Probably, the more devastated, hurt, or taken aback you were by an incident, the more you hit the replay button!

Apparently, the more people ruminate, the more they let things fester, the more anger builds up in them—until they “go postal” or something crazy like that..

Perhaps they are angry at those who slighted them or possibly, they are just angry at themselves—at how ineffectually they think they handled things.

Fortunately, “cognitive tasks can distract us from ourselves.” Hence, crossword puzzles, sudoku, even needlework can take our minds off our troubles. Related to this, you can actually ruminate so much that you essentially “habituate” (or bore) yourself out of it.

In any case, you cannot just say anything you want to at work, even to respond to someone else’s provocations. At work your interpersonal relationships are critical to your being able to get your job done.

In an information economy, most of our jobs are heavily dependent on having, strong interpersonal skills. As enterprise architect practitioners, this is certainly the case. Enterprise architects work with leaders, business and technical subject matter experts, and stakeholders, up, down, and across the organization as well as outside of it (to capture information, bring in best practices and trends, conduct benchmarking, and develop policies and practices to share information and build solutions to enable mission execution).

To be a good enterprise architect, you have to have great interpersonal and communication skills. Moreover, you’ve got to have a thick skin (like an elephant or better yet, like an Abrams tank!) The point is not to let people’s slights get to you, not to ruminate about things, and certainly not to get angry or frustrated. You’ve got to take it in stride and keep focused on the mission.

In a leadership class, I remember learning an important lesson: Managers usually incorrectly hire for technical skills, and then try to train people in interpersonal skills. Instead, the experts contend, managers should hire for interpersonal skills (the harder and more important) and train for technical skills.