Picture a rush-hour commute in your car through a busy intersection. Now imagine that this intersection is where your business operations, strategic planning and customers interact with technology within your organization.
Does your organization feel like a well-oiled machine? The lights are timed perfectly, the delays are slight and traffic flows easily? Or, is it more like the intersection that makes your blood boil and pulse increase just thinking about it? Lack of alignment and order brings chaos to the intersection, and to your organization.
Synergy between traditional business executives and technology is a key indicator of organizational success. Does your tribe or tribal enterprise have leaders that understand, embrace and value technology? Do you have information technology (IT) leaders that understand the business, the customers, budgets and financials and how to communicate effectively using non-technical language? If you are blessed with both, your organization is in a great position to succeed, but if you lack one or both you are likely faced with real challenges.
The undeniable reality today is that technology is a key (and perhaps the most important) driver for increased revenue, innovation and improved services for any business. This is a topic that I have spent a tremendous amount of time working on over the past 30 years while working for and with numerous tribes, tribal enterprises and gaming organizations.
Let’s first focus on the “business” side of the intersection.
My advice, for non-technical business executives, starts with awareness, acceptance of technology and an understanding its exponential rate of change. To be clear, it is not that the importance of customer service, quality products and so forth have lessened or gone away, rather technology has become increasingly important. Ignoring or denying its value and relevance will not “make it go away” or change the reality we live in. At this moment while reading this article you and your surroundings are being bombarded with digital electronic signals from Wi-Fi, cellular networks and other communication services. All technology.
Take the time to recognize and accept how technology is changing you, your customers and your organization. As a bit of homework, take a few moments and do an online search for “exponential technology change.” It is fascinating and will give you further perspective.
The second bit of advice is to learn a little more about technology. Now, I am not talking about having to get a college degree —it does not need to be that difficult. What I am talking about is an increased general interest in technology and learning enough that you can participate in a conversation without fear.
Last, don’t ever be afraid to ask questions when you’re involved in a technology discussion. It shows that you are engaged in an important topic in an area where you are not expected to be an expert.
Now it’s time to focus on the “TECHNOLOGY” side of the intersection.
Of course, tech leaders in any organization have an important role to play in ensuring that the intersection of business and technology operate effectively. They are often very familiar with all aspects of the business because technology is a core driver of the majority of business processes.
Following are two key pieces of advice that I’d give to technology leaders.
First, learn how to speak and communicate in a non-technical manner.
The second bit of advice for a technology leader is education. Continue to learn and engage in different parts of the organization. For example, take more time thinking about business outcomes rather than business processes. Learn more about the customers of the organization. Outside of work, consider volunteering on a not-for-profit board or somewhere that will give you experience working with and as a board member.
Responsibility lies both with technical and non-technical leadership in order to ensure success. You can create roadblocks and traffic jams, or better yet an environment where each intersection is timed perfectly with green lights to cruise through. Which position are you putting your tribal organization in? When done correctly, it will put you in position to achieve greater success. ♦