You’ll probably be familiar with the phrase “That’s all Greek to me”. Meaning “I don’t really understand it, it went over my head”, it originally came from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The character who says the line is explaining a conversation he has overheard – he fancies that it was important in some way, but as it took place in Greek he doesn’t know what was said. To many people, this is the problem with business jargon and new innovations.
You know what connectivity is, more or less. You’ll be relatively confident that you understand social media engagement, as a phrase if not as a concept. For so many of us, though, these phrases get more and more impenetrable as time goes on, and while we may shrug and say “Well, it’s all Greek to me”, the chances are that by doing so we’re missing out on something important.
It’s not unusual to be left flummoxed by new developments and the language around them. It’s human. However, you rarely have to look far to find people who actively cherish and cultivate their ignorance of these things, saying “I’ll do things the way I always have” and expecting kudos for their attitude. Be honest, are you one of them? If you are, stop it. Stop it right now.
The Times Are Moving Faster: Better Move With Them
One reason that we often end up in the situation above is the pace of change. We do well, initially, reacting to changes like the increasing importance of the internet and social media. We then don’t have time to congratulate ourselves because change doesn’t stop. Change is not like an event – happening once and then standing as a lesson. Change is more like a person. It keeps moving, keeps influencing and you need to keep up with it.
You have two choices – you can ignore all the technological changes in your field of business, or you can keep up with them. You can’t just pick and choose as they happen, because some changes are like Twitter – expected to be a passing fancy and now vitally important in all sectors. Some changes are like… well, let’s not be cruel, but things that are trumpeted as the next big thing often turn out to really not be.
So, if you’re making good choices, you’ll want to keep up with the times. This can be where it gets tricky. What if you hear about each new development and, like Casca (they guy from Julius Caesar) find yourself remarking that it’s “Greek to you”. You have another two options. You can learn Greek, or you can find an interpreter.
“I Choose Option B”
If you have the option, hiring someone to help you navigate what can be an impenetrable maze may well be the soundest option. Sometimes, try as you might, you can’t keep pace with a changing world. So it’s sensible to hire the top talent in that field. You know what you want and they know how to give it to you. Sure, it’ll cost you – but will it cost anywhere near as much as falling behind your competitors because you have no idea what you should be doing?
If you can do it all yourself, that’s great. You save money and you flex a few important learning muscles into the bargain. But the moment it starts to sound a little “Greek” to you, you need to be thinking about getting help. Set up a Twitter profile but don’t know how to get followers? Hire someone skilled in social networking. Keen to achieve Internet of Things success but not sure what that looks like? Hire someone to whom the jargon is a second language they speak like a native. (They’ll still need to speak everyday English, so you can understand them).
That’s the tricky thing about navigating this changing digital business world. Admitting that you aren’t able to keep pace alone should never seem like a weakness. Frank Lloyd Wright built some mighty impressive structures – do you think he was much of a bricklayer? Steve Jobs revolutionized digital technology, but it doesn’t mean he was handy with a soldering iron. What both these men had in common was that they knew what they wanted and who to hire to ensure they achieved it.
More importantly, if you try to plow a furrow alone for too long, that’s when you get left behind. While your competitors are broadening their skill sets by making smart decisions, you can be stuck trying to figure things out. As another famous quote goes, “life comes at you fast”. That one wasn’t Shakespeare, though. That was Ferris Bueller.
Is It Already Too Late?
The truth is, if you’re thinking about how you can harness the latest developments, and worrying if you’ve left it too late, the answer is “no”. If you’re able to ask that question, you have a chance of getting back in front of the problem. It’s not too late to harness the wonderful innovations that are cropping up all the time, nor the skills of the early adopters who know exactly what to do with them. What you cannot do is just shrug and say “It’s all Greek to me”. Your competitors are busy using DuoLingo, hiring Greek interpreters and booking month-long fact-finding trips in Greece to make sure they get it. You need to do that too.
Refusal to change your ways, to adapt, is not something that can ever be excused. Just because that’s “the way you’ve always done it”, that doesn’t mean it’s how you should go on. At one point, someone offered that explanation as an excuse to “anesthetize” an amputation patient with rum. Nowadays, that’s medical malpractice all day long.
Oh, and if all the way through this article you’ve been thinking “That’s not the quote”, then ten nerd points go to you. Casca actually said “… for mine own part, ‘twas Greek to me”. And if you were nerdy enough for that to bother you, take the lesson – sometimes nerd power needs to be harnessed!