How the CEO and IT Can Communicate Better

Andy Grove communicate quote

There was a time not so long ago when anything that sounded remotely like technology was quickly offloaded to the IT folks. Our work was done.

Those days are gone.

Forward-Thinking Leaders Are Becoming Tech Savvy

Being tech savvy doesn’t mean configuring your firewall or building your next mobile app.  (We're focused on leadership, not squandered time.) It simply means the default “IT does that” isn't part of your vocabulary.

Strategic leaders know they need to build a comfortable, collaborative partnership with all of their IT folks. We’ll be uncovering how you can make this a success in the coming weeks.

Today, I thought it would be fun to share 5 frequently heard phrases that are ready for a refresh. 

A turn of the phrase is the first step in reshaping your business leader-technology team relationship.

5 Funny Comments We've All Heard Customers Say (and Said Ourselves)

1) It shouldn’t take that long. We’ve all been guilty of this one. After all, it’s just a button. A simple little app. How hard can it be to make it start doing its job again?  

You've probably heard the same thing from a client about a service you’re providing them. You know how complex it is, and yet from your client’s perspective, it seems so simple.  

We've created this nasty trap for ourselves. 

We want to reassure our clients that our deliverables are flawless. They’re on time. They exceed expectations. Clients don’t care about the effort behind the result. 

Years ago one of our team made this comment, and it has stayed with me since then – “Sometimes we make it look too easy for them.” Making complicated things simple comes from a lot of experience and practice that no one ever sees. 

Try this instead 

  “It looks so easy, but I’m sure it’s more complicated that it seems. Do you have a rough idea how long it might take to fix this? I just need to plan around it.”

2) We have that taken care of. Loosely translated this statement becomes “We’re not going to listen to anything you say. We know all there is to know.” 

Every time I hear this, I immediately flashback to the most alarming, self-assured answer I have received from a CFO. I’ve shared this with you before.

When I asked about the company’s cybersecurity protection, he waved me away with his surefire tactic. He checks the bank account often so he knows they haven't been hacked. After all, no money is missing. 

He had absolutely no willingness to continue the conversation.

Try this instead 

  “What are some things you think we should be doing every day? We feel comfortable with what we have implemented, but there might be something we’ve overlooked.”

3) We have a guy who does that for us. Yes, I know using a gender word isn’t acceptable in our hyper-sensitive world. But it’s the phrase we hear so we’re going with it. 

Try this instead 

  “We’ve been working with Homer for years. He treats us well, and we trust him. I wonder if there are additional services we need to discuss with him.” 

4) We don’t really use technology. A business owner told me this after a lengthy conversation about how to implement accounting software, manage inventory, and recover a slew of deleted files.

Since his message was sent by email from a laptop that relied on an internet connection to deliver it, the statement seemed a little flawed.

The first step in becoming a tech savvy leader is understanding how foundational technology is to every business, regardless of size. Technology is a thoughtful collection of  every-changing tools, not a checkbox.

Try this instead 

  “How do I know if I have the right tools working for me?”

5) That’s too expensive. Who hasn’t heard that one? We’ve all said it at some point because we haven’t seen the value in a product or service. 

In the technology world, it often comes down to not understanding the basics. Tech savvy leaders continually gain new knowledge to measure their investments and results. They take the time to understand how technology makes strategic execution possible. 

Try this instead 

  “Let’s walk through the details here. I need to have a better understanding of how this solves the problem we’re talking about today.”

Let's Make It an Even Half-Dozen

Bonus) We just need one thing that does it all.  That’s like buying a car and expecting it to deliver you where you need to be, cook a meal, land 7 new clients, and tuck you in at night. That sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Of course it does. A one-size-fits-all solution isn't going to happen. 

Try this instead 

  “These are the 3 top priorities that need to be addressed. Let’s break these down and then find the right tools for the job.”

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Tags: Technology Strategy

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Linda Rolf is a lifelong curious learner who believes a knowledge-first approach builds valuable client relationships. She is fueled by discovering the unexpected connections among technology, data, information, people and process. For more than four decades, Linda and Quest Technology Group have been their clients' trusted advisor and strategic partner.

Linda believes that lasting value and trust are created through continuously listening, sharing knowledge freely, and delivering more than their clients even know they need. As the CIO of their first startup client said, "The value that Quest brings to Cotton States is far greater than the software they develop."

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