How to Elicit the Right Information to Get the Right Solution by@thecloudarchitect

How to Elicit the Right Information to Get the Right Solution

In order to design an optimal technology solution that truly solves a customer’s problems, you need access to the best information. To get the right information from executives, tech professionals need to have high levels of executive presence. Emotional intelligence is another skill that is critical for tech professionals who are seeking the right answers. When tech professionals do not have these skills, they will often find themselves searching fruitlessly or waiting endlessly for important information, which never results in a satisfied customer. It makes it much easier to get right information, as well as make sure the client knows the scope of the project, if you prepare a comprehensive list of questions.
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Michael Gibbs

CEO of Go Cloud Careers. Technology expert with 25 years of experience in networking, cloud computing, and IT security.

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For cloud architects and technology professionals in general, the most critical professional skill is communication. Why? Because in order to design an optimal technology solution that truly solves a customer’s problems, you need access to the best information. As they like to say in programming: garbage in, garbage out. Without obtaining the optimal information, you will never be able to design an optimal solution.

Leverage Executive Presence To Get The Right Answers

When engaging with the client, you must start by engaging with the organization’s executives. They are the ones who have the best knowledge of the business. Beginning the process by getting their input ensures that you start on a reliable foundation. To get the right information from them, there are two skills that tech professionals need.

First, you need to have high levels of executive presence. Basically, this involves engaging in a way that exhibits composure, confidence, charisma, and conciseness. When you have a strong executive presence, the executives with whom you are working will take you seriously. They will not perceive a meeting with you as something that should be delegated to someone farther down the chain.

To ensure a productive exchange with executives, you also need to have what I call CXO relevancy, or the ability to know what the executives in the C-Suite care about. The CEO, CFO, CIO, CTO, etc., all have different areas of responsibility and expertise that could affect the tech solution you are developing. Knowing what they do and what to say to them will allow you to get the information that you need.

In both of these areas, excellent communication skills are also critical. To get the right information, you need to ask the right people in the right way for information that is relevant to their area of responsibility. When tech professionals do not have these skills, they will often find themselves searching fruitlessly or waiting endlessly for important information. The result is often serious delays in the completion of a project, which never results in a satisfied customer.

Exercise Emotional Intelligence To Get The Right Answers

Emotional intelligence is another skill that is critical for tech professionals who are seeking the right information. Often, when a cloud architect or other technology professional is consulting with an organization, they need to ask questions about delicate topics. The work that they have been called in to do may involve areas in which the organization has made mistakes in the past. For example, it may involve security breaches that resulted in negative media exposure. Exploring what, or who, caused the problem can involve difficult conversations.

Emotional intelligence helps you to ask questions about those topics in a friendly and completely nonjudgmental manner. You need to know how to ask the right kind of open-ended questions. You need to be able to read the person's body language so you can know when they are truly providing an honest answer or when they are guarding the truth. If you perceive that they are withholding information that you need in order to protect the organization, then you need to know how to get that information by asking the question in a different manner.

Prepare A Comprehensive List Of Questions To Get The Right Answers

In most cases, organizations will know the goal that they are trying to achieve, but not all of the factors that need to be considered to accomplish that goal. They are relying on the tech professional to know what details need to be addressed.

It makes it much easier to get the right information, as well as make sure the client knows the complete scope of the project, if you prepare a comprehensive list of questions prior to engaging with them. These questions should be based on the organization's industry. For example, you can explore:

* What are the organization’s near and long-term goals?

* What challenges does the organization have?

* What are the organization’s main business differentiators?

* What are other players in the industry accomplishing?

* What types of challenges do similar businesses in the industry have?

* What kind of technology systems are being used by the organization?

* What are the specifications of the network, servers, security, etc., that the organization is presently using or is interested in using?

All of these steps are important in the process of asking the right questions and getting the right information.


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