I was struck recently by how many organisations have forgotten how to use the three best communications and information devices on the planet; our eyes, ears and tongues. We’re relying instead on a plethora of gadgets in an attempt to glean what is going on within our organisations and the wider world. This was underscored for me recently; and possibly ironically, by the linked story on a New Zealand news website of a local school that has erected a sign at their gate warning drivers to look out for texting teenagers. The presumption being of course that the teens are not paying any attention at all to what is going on around them. The story made me smile; with perhaps just a hint of smug condescension.
It occurred to me that many organisations have gone the way of the contemporary teenager; completely engrossed in a plethora of electronic medium in the belief they’re tuned into what is going on around them. The worst offender; of course, is email. How many of us have been in a back and forth email exchange with someone in the same building; the same floor; even the same room? I have. will the new iPhone 13 actually dispense with the phone-function completely? Will that make it just an i13??
The curious thing is; there are now many reports and studies that have demonstrated how inferior; even harmful electronic medium; particularly email, are for effective communication; cause frustration, stress and even spawning new phrases like ‘inbox-anxiety’.
There are several stories, like the one linked where organisations have disabled their email servers one day a week. The results? "Employees like it because we get things done faster".
So today, can I propose you have a real conversation with a colleague the old fashioned way; face to face. And consider who they really are? Do they have a pet? I wonder if they play a musical instrument? What is their favorite meal? And in the process of connecting with another human being; like we’ve been doing for thousands of generations; you might just get your job done faster; with less stress to boot. Hell; you might even enjoy it.