First of all, I am all for technology but I am beginning to believe there is a significant downside in the form of unforeseen implications from these advancements.
Here are my thoughts:
- Going to meetings that lasts no longer than an hour yet everyone there has to bring their cell phones. Those that have mobile email then continue to check everytime a message comes through and may even hammer out a response while others are trying to discuss what was thought to have been an important issue.
- Seeing people walk around with bluetooth headphones. I was pumping gas the other day and the person strolled around their car and continued to gesticulate and engage in conversation as their gas pumped. (we used to call people who walked around talking to themselves crazy but maybe they were just ahead of their time)
- We can now pick the one or two songs on an album that we like instead of buying the album and allowing the rest of the songs to “grow on us”. Now these artists are forced to continue to pump out “hit” after “hit” to satsify the need of the marketplace
- Receiving an email, then getting a phone call 30 minutes later asking why you haven’t responded to the email.
The fear that I have is that we have stopped thinking because we are consumed with acting. We no longer take the time the reflect and ponder because we need “a bias for action” in order to compete. We want people to be more strategic yet we constantly reinforce to people the need to get work done and get it done fast. There is certainly a need to work tactically but with all of the information at our fingertips, we become innundated with options and tend to pick one and go forward without really thinking it through. We no longer have to be thoughtful or give complete instructions because we can always email the details or call later with additional information.
Many years ago, when I first starting working in retail we did everything in person or by phone. It was in the early 1990’s and we did not even have email. Our stores called in their sales figures each night and I would have to call me voicemail and listen to 7 messages and write down all the figures. The question is, “Are we more efficient and effective now than we were that many years ago?”
I am not sure I can say with certainty we are. I liked having the time to think and work independently that seems to have disappeared. As the famous Pogo comic stated, “We have met the enemy, and he is us!”