While reading an article in this week’s Bloomberg Businessweek regarding Jim Messina and his efforts as a campaign manager, one message is crystal clear – technology must be embraced and used to get a particular viewpoint communicated to the masses. But what about individuals? While many people race to get the latest gadget, app or software, there are plenty of people out there who still resist placing an infinite amount of trust in technology. To be honest, Team Reluctance has a point. With security breaches almost daily, costing people and companies thousands if not millions of dollars, confidence can be shaken easily regarding personal information protection. Also, pushing to store business data and information in the cloud sounds like a great idea; however, anyone who has experienced an outage or a loss of data will attest that online storage may be like putting all of your eggs in one basket with potentially catastrophic results. Should Team Reluctance win out over Team Technology?
Nope. The fact you are reading this blog means technology has major advantages that should be valued. One of the biggest benefits is communication. Basically, in one generation, the world shrank. It was pointed out during a generational discussion I facilitated last week that the Millennial generation is global. No longer do we rely only on the daily newspaper or the evening news to understand the world around us – and I do mean world. Think about this: It is now commonplace to chat with someone thousands of miles away, something unheard of without high phone bills only twenty years ago. Texting, tweeting, Facebook posts, blogging, even email – all of these activities are different media in which to communicate. The messages we share are potentially destined to go around the entire world! This can be a key asset for businesses looking to spread their message. Whether it is a political campaign, advertising pitch or just a point of view, technology today gives organizations the opportunity to connect with people on a personal level faster and more in-depth than ever.
When it comes to smaller groups or tasks, though, leaders have to balance which side they are on – Team Reluctance or Team Technology. It really depends on the group they are leading and the goal in mind. If the group is savvy with communication tools like texting or Skype, leaders should explore those communication options in order to help their group be more efficient. The team may even feel held back if they are not able to use their available like texting! On the other hand, if the people who comprise the group are not ready to integrate that type of communication into their work habits, leaders should avoid that type of tool. When it comes to work habits, leaders may make group members uncomfortable or confused, which may slow down productivity if the leader pushes new technology into an unwelcoming environment. Bottom line: Leaders need to read their team and use the most efficient tools for that particular group. Leaders, therefore, must be technically competent in order to be on either side of the equation regarding technology integration.
CEO, The Professional Development Team