Although communication is critical in a start-up, sometimes tech-savvy lingo can get lost in translation for executives with business-savvy backgrounds (and vice versa). This can easily lead to miscommunications, frustrations, and unwanted tension between start-up members. Since business and technical founders have different skill sets, they would typically approach the same issues in a completely different manner. For those reasons, both need to understand how technical and business problems are viewed through the lens of the other. The ideal method to solve such issues is to practice listening and communication, which are soft skills that can be easily overlooked. Below summarizes two ways to help start-up founders overcome these barriers:
Communicate in Both Languages
Technical founders understand start-up problems differently compared to those with a business background. Yet by understanding each other’s language, founders can learn ways of handling disagreements which would help bridge the technical and business communication gaps. For instance, technical founders typically use diagrams, infographics, figures, and tables to communicate complex ideas or when words fail to communicate effectively. With this understanding, start-up executives might encourage employees to communicate in such ways on technical issues, such as in emails and during presentations.
Know Your Weaknesses and Your Strengths
Technical founders are known to be analytical as they are trained in an environment that is all about data, analytics, and real numbers. However, the overuse of these strengths can also turn into liabilities. Therefore, scientists should be cautious about how far they can utilize real-time data and figures when running a business. Sometimes technical founders can get “too into the weeds” in solving a technical-scientific problem. To avoid this, make sure to constantly remind yourself of the “big picture” of the start-up. In other cases, conducting additional experiments would be helpful to complete a peer-review publication in a scientific journey. However, these same experiments might not make sense to pursue in the start-up world. As a start-up with limited time and money, it is always important for scientists and business leaders to communicate effectively so that the start-up can ensure all members are working together towards the same goals.
As a founder, finding ways of merging the technical and business worlds through effective listening and communication will be pivotal to start-up success. Learn more tips and tricks to communicate effectively in Train Like a Scientist, Think Like an Entrepreneur which is available on Amazon. Grab your copy today to learn more about how to bridge technical and business communication gaps!