Have you ever thought about psychology playing a role in any business initiative?  How about psychology in conjunction with making decisions regarding stakeholders?

You’ve probably always heard or been taught to think before your speak and to listen to someone speak without interrupting.  These are the extreme basic skills needed for a successful implementation of enterprise architecture models.  Strip away the business talk and bring in the understanding of the human mind.  The human mind is complex, now think of the minds of stakeholders.  Can you?  Let me share a diagram with you I found during one of my readings:

Source: Gartner (2005)

With all the cooks in the kitchen having different viewpoints, concerns, rationale, missions, and coming from different environments, it can be intimidating to try and get all personality types to share the same vision and goals in a way that makes the organization successful.  I can attest to our current situation, as we have plenty of strong personalities and even with an overarching company mission, we don’t always align with our approach.  As a manager, I constantly step back and analyze the body language, verbiage, and mannerisms during meetings.  This is paramount to understanding how stakeholders feel about the goals of enterprise architecture as applied to the specific problem needing to be solved.

According to Bas, Schouten, and Vliet (2004):

Cognitive structures reflect the sense-making structures of individuals [17]. In customer service literature, cognitive maps are used to study stakeholder expectations and to evaluate their satisfaction [16]. Personal cognitive structures typically show the sequence of conscious and unconscious acts directed toward goal achievement [13]. (p. 23)

This excerpt describes in more detail the diagram of different minds.  If you place the same mission in front of different stakeholders, you will have an array of goals each will pursue.  Within enterprise architecture, this can be detrimental if there are different dominant logics and cognitive schemas.

Have you heard of the Myers-Briggs?  If you haven’t by now, I would highly suggest taking the test.  I have taken the test twice with a six-year gap in between and both times was assigned the personality type INTJ.  This personality type only accounts for about 1% of the population, and through experience, I have understood my most compatible counterparts.  When thinking about the psychology of enterprise architecture, it’s important to know the proper personality types to “have in the room” when dealing with important stakeholders.

Handler, R. (2005). Psychology May Hold Key to Successful Enterprise Architecture
Bas, R., Schouten, S., Vliet, Hans. (2004). Stakeholder Perception of Enterprise Architecture