Ever had an amazing idea that you just can’t quite seem to explain fully? It dances around in your head like a moon-walking donkey doesn’t it? And no matter how hard you try you fail to pin that tail to it..
The language escapes you, almost like the words you want haven’t been created yet. You fumble around and your tongue feels bigger in your mouth than Jamie Oliver’s with a peanut allergy after a chicken satay.
And just as you are giving up hope trying to explain, a friend/colleague is able to simply and succinctly describe it.. Not only that but they have been able to decipher your detailed views and serve it up to others in concise elegant prose.
How does that happen? What is it that left you struggling to get buy in for your idea, whilst your friend or colleague simply pitched the idea like it was their own and get that all too important momentum you had been seeking for ages!
The Language Barrier
We see this regularly. Most commonly between the business heads and the technology departments of organisations.
The IT teams invariably talk about how this latest technology has the greatest advancements ever seen in the field. It has multiplied processing speed, power and performance. It is the best tech on the market and will improve their ability to manage.
They wax lyrical about how it has been 5 years in the making and how it possesses the most comprehensive feature set and integration capabilities the world has known. They spend about 30 minutes talking in TLA’s (three letter acronyms) and then wonder why they are being met with blank faces..
“This technology has more XYZ than our current model and has added WOW..”
It falls on deaf ears because ultimately, when it comes to business decisions, the technology should be the final piece of the conversation, the enabler.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to alienate technical teams. It is just they work in the technology all the time. And if you work in something all the time, sometimes it is hard to remember what it was like when you didn’t know the technology inside out.
It is important to try and remember the business teams that you are trying to persuade or interest are on the other side of the technology debate, and are more interested in the benefits to the business and what’s in it for them!
Where to Start?
It is important to remember that you all want the same goals. But you need to establish exactly what those goals are.
It is important to think what your key business objectives are and about your brand.
- Do you pride yourself on the service you deliver to customers?
- Do you want a local presence that is looking to provider personal interactions with your customers?
- Are you looking to allow your customers to contact you in whatever format they choose?
- Are you looking to improve your offering to market?
- Or is it simply that you want to allow your employees to collaborate better and more freely? Perhaps accommodate flexible working too?
Whatever your goals are, the conversation should start here, and focus on how you want to do these things – ignoring the technology.. for now at least.
And, remember the importance of talking to the key business stakeholders and finding out what they would like to make their lives better. I hear far too often from business people you don’t know what you don’t know. I asked one of my customers following a very successful implementation that has helped them create a new offering to market through technology what advice he would give to others. What he said was priceless. “Get the business stakeholders together, ask them what their problems are and what they see as opportunities, then involve the technology team and key partners to come up with technologies ideas to take them forward.”
Once you have a list of your key objectives and how you want to enable the business, it should become a far simpler conversation.
You can simplify the language and talk about what you want to deliver rather than talking at cross purposes or in a manner that both teams are struggling to comprehend.
This is the most exciting part.
This is the bit where you get to look at the possibilities for the business and what you can use to achieve them. Our Convergence Summit this year is all about this exact thing – enabling the business through technology.
I will be presenting in the morning sessions and focusing on how a subtle change in emphasis can totally alter the way we view technology. I am seeing key global vendors starting to adopt this approach, with great success. So whether we like it or not this is a trend of things to come!
Start looking at the solution for your business goals rather than at a particular technology solution and suddenly the technology world doesn’t seem so scary.