Sunday, June 17, 2012

Technology Addictions

Imagine if we could bring someone from the past, say . . . 200 years ago, into the present day. Consider just the ability to communicate today compared to the year 1812. The capability to know in mere seconds the answer to any question and news from anywhere on the planet from a device that fits in the palm of the hand. It would be difficult, perhaps impossible for them to comprehend. Now give them a job in a modern work environment — disaster. This would however, make for a great movie.

The work environment has become overwhelmingly complex. Some of it is necessary and beneficial, but most of it is counterproductive. Consider the deception of multi-tasking that provides people with the false sense of belief that they can accomplish more by doing more activities at once. It is a lie. See here for more explanation.
The modern trend of multitasking is largely a result of technology; I can pretend to carry on a conversation with you while texting both my kids and my wife, read email while driving my car with at least one hand and listen to Meagan (the lady in my GPS who is always patient with me) guide me to my destination. The fact is that I am not doing any of these things well (most have negative consequences . . . to not doing them well).

We plan less effectively, communicate less succinctly, and listen less attentively because of technology. What would we do if it [communication technology] suddenly disappeared? What if we considered a "fast" of sorts some restriction on the use of technology and everything that gives us the false perception that we can do more by doing many things simultaneously.
Imagine how the following would make everyone in your organization more productive:
  • You can only work 40 hours per week, but your compensation depends on results; use your time wisely.
  • You can only send 10 emails per day no exceptions choose your words wisely.
  • You can only spend 2 hours per week in meetings make sure your objectives for meetings are clear.
  • You can only talk on your phone with a blind fold on . . . radical yes, but think what behaviours would change.
There should be a purposeful and continuous goal to hold technology in the place of a help vs. the master. There era of carbon paper did have some advantages.


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