The limits of my language
mean the limits of my world.
— Ludwig Witgenstein
Every senior business leader needs to have the language of the digital world. I have seen a board challenge a management proposal for ‘a new ERP’ because they felt the assumed $500,000 investment was inadequate. The inference was that the initiative was not fully understood so the investment was high risk. What was actually envisioned was an upgrade to the G/L software by moving it into the cloud. By not understanding the correct language, management put their credibility at risk and almost lost an important and well-considered investment.
I have spent close to forty years building my digital vocabulary. Over more than twenty years of CIO assignments and transformational project work, I have learned to find the business context and to make sure that my use of technology terms is precisely aligned. Successful digital conversations are seldom about the technology – they are about the business opportunity and challenge.
It behooves every senior business leader to develop a working vocabulary, so they can actively participate in the most impactful conversations of the coming decade.