It’s amazing how much every business depends on technology. Whether it’s as basic as email or as complex as cross-platform measurement and analysis, it’s hard to find a job that hasn’t been changed over the last two decades by the advent of various technologies. That’s obvious for those of us who work with technology and technology-related businesses every day. It’s less obvious for people in non-tech businesses or areas of responsibility such as accounting.
One thing I see happening is that we tend to isolate ourselves into our primary areas of responsibility. We learn, for example, what good marketing entails but we draw the line at understanding the technology that drives much marketing activity. We might write great content but we have little notion about what’s involved in making that content visible both to humans and to search engines. It gets worse as you go higher up the food chain. I’ve known plenty of managers or directors or higher-ups who not only don’t get their hands dirty but don’t wish to understand much of anything involved in the workflow. They love to see the finished sausage but they refuse to see how it’s made.
We can’t allow specialization to keep us from knowing a little bit about a lot. I’ll give you an example. I got a frantic call from a client years ago. Their new website wasn’t showing up in Google and they couldn’t figure out why. They had used an outside developer who was unreachable (I think avoiding them since they were kind of high maintenance) and wanted to fix the issue. One look at the homepage code showed that the developer had used a “Noindex” command which tells the search engines to ignore the page. It’s a common thing done in development and easy to spot if you know about it. I’m certainly no coder but by knowing a little bit about it, I could help. Problem solved.
We need to know more than just our jobs. We need to know a little bit of everything. You have to get your hands dirty in many processes and speak the languages spoken elsewhere in your company – tech, finance, marketing, whatever. Does that make sense?