Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
--Arthur C Clarke, futurist
Technology seems complex to outsiders.
Though technologists and technology leaders recognize this complexity, we know there are always more advanced technologies on the horizon. We do not regard our own work as magic.
When executives dismiss as "magic" the technology and operations capabilities of the company:
As a technology leader, it is your job not just to guide the use of technology, but also to build executive fluency around technology.
Leaders are often taught to hone their elevator pitch for use with management. The issue with this approach: elevator pitches are focused on providing a taste of information leading to a decision. For executive fluency, we need deep understanding and retention.
When technology leaders talk to their reports, it is in the context of specific technologies and technical terms. Except in businesses which provide technical products and services, it is inappropriate to talk with your executives in these terms.
Consider who your executives talk with. What is the technology fluency of their audience? This should be your target in selecting terminology, simplifying concepts, and aligning messaging.
Change in business is constant, and every change is an opportunity to build fluency.
Executive fluency may be lost when executives become out-of-touch due to changes. Executive fluency may be built when executives learn during the change process.
For learning to occur, there must be a compelling reason to pay attention.
Technology leaders benefit from investing time in understanding market pain points, brand experience, user experience, and business pain points. This awareness of the business landscape enables better decision support for peers, risk-based decision-making, and value optimization.
As executive fluency around technology grows, we can drive stronger competitive advantages.
Executive fluency in technology is a strong business advantage, to the operating and strategic benefit of the executives, and an indicator of excellence in technology leadership. The technology leader's actions will be judged by your boss's peers. Are they hearing the right message?