The STEM acronym represents Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Consider whether the thought of becoming more STEM-savvy makes you shudder. If so, then you are overdue to recalibrate your professional development strategy for the IIoT, regardless of your job title or function.
- First of all, the more you know about what everyone else in your IIoT organization “does,” the more educated you become.
- Also, when you become more educated, you are better able to understand how “what you do” complements “what everyone else does.”
- Then, you develop better skills to serve clients because you know where to find the go-to resources for specific types of information related to your organization’s products and services.
Finally, you provide a greater contribution to the value chain, not only your organization’s but your customers’ as well.
In order to work across the sales-engineering interface®, improve your STEM mindset. Let’s get started with three simple steps you can initiate today.
Consider that within the IIoT ecosystem, machines are interconnected to and communicate with other machines, thanks to computer systems and software interfaces.
Connect the dots. Ponder why the same holds true for people within IIoT environments. Your professional development goal is to become collaborative and interoperable, just like those machines and software.
Step 1. One of the easiest ways to grow a greater appreciation for STEM disciplines is to shadow these folks.
Seriously. Make an appointment to meet some of the STEM stars in your organization. They are educators, by nature, and will welcome you into their world. Experience first-hand what their day looks like. Observe and listen to how they communicate with like-minded colleagues. Get a sense of not only the types of problems they solve, but also – and most importantly – their logical and multi-factorial approach to problem solving. Finally, observe how these folks work in collaborative teams.
Step 2. Another way to make yourself more STEM-savvy is to ask questions about what you do not understand.
Let’s face it. STEM disciplines have their own vocabulary. Often this vocabulary is full of acronyms, particularly when it comes to IT. Non-STEM folks do not like to admit they do not understand what STEM professionals are talking about. However, being curious and asking questions are the hallmarks of STEM disciplines! If you do not understand something, ask for clarification. Guess what? You will be thinking more scientifically!
Step 3. Now that you are more comfortable growing your STEM mindset, become more conversant in communicating with STEM professionals.
Multi-disciplinary, cross-functional collaboration is the hallmark of IIoT workforce environments. Notice how STEM professionals check, re-check and continuously validate each other’s information. They do not make assumptions. Word choices are critical to designing accurately and effectively. Assumptions create defects and failures.
Injecting STEM mindset into your own job function is translational and transformational.
Congratulations! You are successfully cross-pollinating your professional mindset. Those traits involve learning to become more skeptical rather than accepting. Of just about anything. For example:
- Since you now are more comfortable and conversant with mathematics, you start asking about the source information used to arrive at those statistical conclusions used for marketing and sales materials.
- Because you are more process-driven, you question what appears to be an arbitrary, and unrealistic, delivery schedule for critical parts.
- As a result of becoming more confident in how you contribute to your organization’s value chain, you make suggestions for streamlining communication across the organization.
No matter what your job function, it is time to overcome your fear of STEM disciplines. Grow your STEM mindset in the process.
It is difficult to move ourselves forward until and unless we determine what is holding us back. Most of the time, we stand in our own way of forward professional development progress. Many times, this impediment is rooted in our reluctance to inject STEM mindset into professional development strategy.
Your choice. Your first steps outside of your current comfort level start right here in this post. What are you waiting for?
Babette Ten Haken is a catalyst. She writes, speaks, consults and coaches about how cross-functional team collaboration revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things value chain for customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. She connects the dots between leadership, human capital / HR strategy and developing a data-driven, team-based workforce committed to creating enduring business outcomes. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.
Image author: Robert Wilson Image source: Fotolia