8 Secrets to Solving Technical Problems as a Non-Techie

As a consultant in the carrier and service provider space, there is a long list of people and brands that need to work together to solve the problems that naturally occur.  From customers to IT partners and vendors to the service providers themselves, there are a lot more helping hands than one might assume.

The people who deal with me every day might assume I’m a techie but guess what? I’m a non-techie! As a non-techie who spends a fair amount of time helping solve technical problems, I find there are a few simple / stupid rules of the road that keeps everyone marching forward together, even when there is dissention within the ranks.

Here are my 8 secrets to solving technical problems as a non-techie:

  1.   Know your team – Who needs to be involved in fixing THIS problem? Chances are, it’s not something I can fix alone.
  1.   Don’t be scared of the phone – Call whomever you need to in order to understand the situation first.  Then call to explain that situation to the person who can best help.  Be a person, not a problem.
  1.   Put it in writing – ALWAYS follow up with a summary, including next steps, who owns what, and your definition of victory. Don’t be afraid to share failures and room for improvement as long as you do so constructively and non-judgmentally.
  1.   Overshare / over copy – Don’t parse the details.  Everyone on your team needs to see everything.  And always ask for a ReplyAll from everyone.  No secrets.  No exceptions.  Period.  (Ok, well… maybe that thing you did last Friday night… that should be kept secret!)
  1.   Be wrong…a lot – If you are not failing repeatedly then you should try harder.  So fess up to your failures.  And then ask for the same in return. If you find yourself making the same mistake or failing the same way often, it might be time for some introspection. Failures require learning. Failure to learn is the definition of idiocy.
  1.   Reward everyone.  Everyone – Find the positive in each team member.  Publicly highlight small and otherwise silent individual contributions. Don’t be afraid to give real gifts (flowers, chocolate, gift cards, etc.) when appropriate.
  1.   Be personally thankful – Make sure each team member receives your thanks privately and individually. This is where you can practice your handwriting as handwritten thank you notes go a LONG way to building relationships.
  1.   Be predictable – Rinse & repeat.  Your reputation and the results you deliver depend on your consistency.

Bonus Points: Keeping it simple / stupid is…well…simple.  This works in just about any situation, business or otherwise.  We humans aren’t all that complex, and by offering each of us what we need to feel connected and valued, we are more than happy to give you what you want …in this case, the victory you defined for all of us at the start.

Author: Lance Akins