What’s one thing every non-technical company leader should know about technology?
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1. The Future of Tech
I’m not the most tech-savvy guy, but I try to stay current on popular tech trends. Knowing what’s coming and what kind of technologies may be used by my competitors in the next five-to-10 years gives me perspective when I try to plan the next steps for my business and customers. Every non-tech leader should at least know what’s out there.
2. The Latest Tech Trends
Staying up on the latest trends – perhaps by having a technical team member deliver a weekly tech trend briefing to you, or by regularly reading a tech-focused blog or newsletter – is crucial. You don’t need to know everything about tech as a non-technical leader, but you should be well-versed enough to know when to get advice on tech decisions that will have an impact on your business.
3. The Level of Work Involved
When a non-technical person is working with a technical person, the biggest point of mutual contention manifests itself as: “How long will this take?” Make a point to hone your understanding of the scope of the work, and not just the end result you have in mind, so that you have a rough idea of whether a project will require a foundational change, a small tweak or isn’t even possible at all.
4. The Right Tech Hires
Hiring the right people for your technological needs is the first step in obtaining technology and putting it to efficient use. If you are unable to identify the right talent on your own, find those in your network who can provide that expertise and give a second opinion. This will lead to higher-quality discussions and broaden your experience in identifying top talent.
5. The Value of If/Then Statements
To easily speak with your technical team about features, talk using if/then statements. For example, IF a new signup deletes their account, THEN send me an email and an SMS, and notify our Slack team. Everything in technology can be broken down this way. Plus, it’s exactly how developers talk!
6. Your Customers’ Capabilities
I’m keeping up with how my target demographic uses technology. Because we aren’t really a tech company, we’re unlikely to lead a charge toward adopting new technologies. Thus, understanding how your customers already use tech helps you stay relevant. If we didn’t understand that non-mobile/tablet users are few and far between in China, we’d be in trouble.
7. The Effects on Your Business
Every company leader should know the latest technology trends in their industry and how they affect their business. All businesses today are driven by technology. If you can’t understand technology directly, you should have other people explain it to you in layman’s terms. Don’t avoid learning the crucial ways it affects your business because no technology is too difficult to learn if it’s explained properly.
8. The Basics
It’s important for a leader to understand the technology that his employees and counterparts are using. Even if they aren’t an expert, they need to know, understand and use the technology in order to ask the right questions and engage in the discussions that have an impact beyond the technology. Take the time to learn the basics, because even a little bit goes a long way.
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