Unlocking the Language Barrier: Empowering Non-Tech Workers to Speak Tech

If you believe that tech and non-tech teams can survive without completely understanding each other, think twice. In today’s interconnected economy, the lack of effective communication between every area of the business can lead to sizable financial losses. In some cases, it can be the deciding factor on whether a business can survive.

What to do when you encounter unhelpful pay ranges on job postings

Consider the case of Knight Capital Group, an American financial services firm that, at some point, had revenues of over $1.4 billion. In 2012, the company, then led by Thomas Joyce, learned this lesson the hard way, as one of their non-tech teams failed to communicate with the IT team about a software update. This created a computer glitch, resulting in accidental trades and losses of $440 million. Knight Capital Group never recovered.

Transforming roadblocks into opportunities: 5 pathways to achieve success

A long-lasting, authentic cultural transformation arises from a consistent routine and from deeply rooted practices that are instilled, day by day, in the heart of the organization. As author and habits expert James Clear said, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” Therefore, organizations must develop systems that foster better collaboration between teams on a daily basis. This needs to occur regardless of whether the company is launching a product because it is still decisive for the culture of the entire business entity. However, if the company succeeds, it can transform all the previously-explained roadblocks into opportunities and build an organization where both technical and non-technical teams thrive. Here are five ways to make progress:

  1. Take a structured approach to meetings by going from problem to solution

Jeff Lawson, who co-founded StubHub and Twilio—and still serves as the CEO of the latter–emphasized in an interview with McKinsey the importance of integrating developers in the creative problem-solving process. For Lawson, developers are natural problem-solvers; if guided appropriately and within the proper framework, they can bring those skills to the business world and collaborate with the business teams to solve any issue more effectively. Meetings need to follow a sequence instead of jumping to conclusions right away. If the CTO gets caught up in technical minutiae and the meeting is not stewarded properly, the talent of the technical leaders will not be harnessed the right way, and the company will miss out on their problem-solving skills. To make a meeting productive, first outline the problem and then set a clear goal. Ideally, the goal can also be summarized in one sentence or question. For example, “What steps do we need to take to outsmart Booking.com?” Then, break this down into as many steps as possible and collaboratively discuss feedback.

  1. Cross-functional training from the get-go

Whenever the company makes a new hire, it must integrate a comprehensive, cross-functional onboarding process that provides holistic training to the new employee in the different areas of the company. Business-oriented employees need to be a part of the engineering onboarding process, and new engineers need to be a part of the non-technical teams’ induction. This will create familiarity between both teams, which increases understanding, collaboration, and synergy. It also makes everyone in the company more familiar with both types of languages and conscious and subconscious perceptions, which increases the odds that everyone will communicate more effectively.

  1. Raise awareness and create desire for change

It is inevitable that when teams are engaging with terms and processes that they have not been familiar with before, there will be a learning curve. Therefore, it is important to remember that the more fun and engaging we make the process, the easier going through this steep learning curve will be. An interesting approach could be an internal hackathon, in which employees from different teams work together to solve a specific challenge. To make it fun, the company could offer a prize to reward those who developed the best potential solution. A company can also include a role reversal day. On this day, the company could ask an engineer to spend a day shadowing someone in the marketing department or a salesperson to work alongside a developer. This hands-on approach helps foster empathy and cooperation and builds leaders capable of working with everyone within the organization.

  1. Leverage the power of product teams

Product teams serve the function of a bridge, which connects developer teams and business units and needs both parties to work together. In an organization, a product team can act as a translator, converting technical complexities into something that derives business value and sales or marketing metrics into concepts that can be translated into code. When product teams function correctly, the divide is easier to overcome. An example of this is San Jose-based tech giant Cisco Systems, which has managed to get siloed architecture experts and customer-facing staff working together by integrating them into self-managing, accountable, cross-functional teams, which, in the long run, have generated billions of dollars in value and made Cisco one of the best places to work in the United States.

  1. Communicate without jargon

Business teams need to understand technological terms like tech debt, and IT people need to comprehend concepts like ROI and customer experience. Communication between teams should steer clear of any technical or business jargon and be as simple, clear, and actionable as possible. If team members struggle to communicate what they need in simple terms, they can use tools like ChatGPT, which can facilitate the transfer of information in simple language until employees develop the capacity to communicate properly. This AI-assisted approach helps to eliminate barriers, enhance clarity, and nurture a culture of accessibility. The more open that both parties perceive each other to be, the more confidence they will have in approaching each other for any questions or clarification.

Communication is key, and to accomplish this, it is essential for both tech and non-tech teams to understand that they are on the same team and dealing with humans with whom they have more commonalities than differences. Once this collaboration is established, both teams will feel empowered to work together, and the company will substantially improve as a result.

Ivan Saprov is the founder and CEO of Voyagu, a US-based AI travel platform connecting travelers with advisors.


Denial of responsibility! Vigour Times is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
Denial of responsibility! Vigour Times is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
DMCA compliant image

Leave a Comment