Hard to believe how often I still hear this.
John Doe shouldn't be put in a client facing role. Jane isn't the best candidate to be promoted to upper management.
Jane and John are much to deep on the technical side. That expertise in java, that passion for patterns, and that incessant blogging about closures delegates these folk to the basement.
This mentality is just a sampling from a luggage department store sized selection of cultural baggage that condemn many IT shops to a mediocre existence.
Truly excellent places to work recognize, reward, and promote the technically awesome. Every day we hear about the next business success story; lead by a geek with a passion, supported by a team of passionate geeks.
Maybe if we nurtured an environment where the brightest techies actually wanted to work, some of that success could be ours.
For sure technical skills aren't the only keys to the kingdom. Business savvy, interpersonal skills, networking, and being able to speak in a language that doesn't alienate our customers are just a couple of other slots needed in the utility belt.
What some don't realize is that today's techies are of a very different stock from the engineers bred in the 70s, and 80s.
The modern professional geek is locked into a rapid cycle of continuous learning and accelerated networking. They study and collaborate towards success, and move at a speed that make conventional thinkers appear to be at a standstill.
Perhaps the word chosen for those barred from the decision making crew should be socially inept, offensive, or don't understand your business.
If that describes the majority of technical folk in your organization, think about how to grow, attract, and retain a different breed.