Don’t Play Dumb - Understand Executive-Level Technology Information
Excuse the direct phrase – it’s all too common and it’s all too easy – Playing Dumb. Regardless of your position, regardless of your authority, regardless of your experience – you cannot remove yourself from the weighty decisions because you “don’t know anything about computers.”
You don’t need to know anything about computers. Every business owner should know the functions, risks, and priorities with their company’s technology.
It is OK to say this but unfair to your intelligence and your company to live it. For instance: every business owner (except for a company that may actually provide tax accounting services) could waive a white flag and say they “don’t know anything about taxes” and mentally remove themselves from anything that has a financial number attached to issues affecting their company. It is true you may not know about taxes and may never read one line of tax code or do anything but discuss higher level bookkeeping and tax ramifications with your accountant on a periodic basis - but you are involved, you know the basics, you know what your accountant is responsible for, you know when your corporate taxes are due, you know the exact date you personal taxes are due, you understand the basics of depreciation, you know what your profit was last month, last quarter, last year – the list goes on – you may not know one thing about taxes but you would never expect to blame your accountant if you were not profitable.
It is all too easy to remove your company’s resources entirely from technology due to lack of understanding or simple frustration of on-going problems but you must stay involved. You must understand what your organization relies on, you must know you have data backed up, you must discuss risks and their mitigation, you must draw lines of responsibility, demand that issues are discussed at an appropriate level to alleviate you from the minutia and allow you to absorb executive-level information to be able to take the responsibility to be a part of the direction and control of technology. This cannot be circumvented because you “don’t understand computers and you only use email” – you don’t need to understand computers, you need to understand what components (and to what extent those components) are helping (or hurting) your organizations mission.