Can We Still Opt Out of Technology Today?
An Apple for Lunch
by chrisschuepp on Flickr
Welcome to Sunday Koa Kākou. Sunday is the day I answer questions you send to me (or I take the day off! Want different? Be a Squeaky Wheel). If you have a question connected to management and leadership, leave a comment here, or email me.
This is a comment which came in for this article:
Hiding from the Web is Foolish: 5 Steps to Smarter
I thought it was a good question, one we could bring to Koa Kākou today for a bit more exploration and discussion, for it’s a question we could probably apply to a lot of other situations where someone knows more about something than another person, not just technology as I am doing today.
“Is it the generation? ignorance? rudeness?”
The generation? ”“ personally, I don’t think so.
Ignorance? Rudeness? ”“ could be a part of it, but likely not the whole story.
There is certainly a judgment of some kind involved; let’s call it a levying of opinion about the situation at hand. However I think that opinion and the emotions connected to it depend a lot on varying circumstances” The person already ‘in the know’ may not be looking down on someone as much as they are surprised, disappointed in them, or just impatient.
They could even be alarmed, concerned at what a friend is missing out on, when in their view ignorance is NOT bliss. Our assumptions get challenged, (“But I thought you already knew this!”) and we can’t help but wonder how else our assumptions in relating to that person and interacting with them might be wrong: We get thrown off balance because that person is no longer as predictable to us; they are no longer a comfortably ‘known entity.’
The Tech Effect: Competency and Communication
In the case of tech and being web-savvy, I do feel it is a big assumption in business today that prospective candidates have a basic handle on technology. If they don’t, we wonder why.
Tech competencies can be taught fairly easily and quickly as on-the-job training, and that is not the concern: We wonder why the learning hasn’t already happened, and we wonder how else a candidate may be ‘learning challenged,’ or otherwise disinterested in innovation, something critical to the long-term prospects of every business.
Taking this even further, I coach business owners that once people are on staff, the managers and leaders of that business must step into the role of teacher and coach as new advances in technology promise to potentially affect both work performance and lifestyle comfort. Work affects life and life affects work. For instance, I’d bet that every business owner would LOVE it if every single one of their employees had a personal email address and gave their employers permission to use it to communicate with them.
Advances in technology have had a pervasive effect on our society, and while we can still opt out personally, for many of us opting out is not a viable option within the workplace. The ‘tech effect’ looms largest in these two critical areas:
1. Job Competency, i.e. best-possible productivity practices.
The number of software programs which now exist to automate, speed up or otherwise improve work performance is amazing. Do they always have that effect? No, and part of job competency has become the learner’s experience with weighing the pros and cons of specific technological application, figuring out whether the old way or new way is still best.
Consider email and company intranets as just two of the many examples which exist today, or the way that Bluetooth receivers are so commonly issued with uniforms throughout the food service industry for the front-of-house staff to better communicate with the kitchen. Now think about all the external partnerships and customers of your workplace, and what it takes to meet their expectations whether or not a business is tech-savvy internally.
So here is my advice, and in light of my recent articles, this is not likely to surprise you.
Get on board the Tech Train and enjoy the ride!
Going back to this for a moment; “Is it the generation? ignorance? rudeness?”
Let’s say no!
— The generation?
No, and don’t allow that to be an excuse or justification, or your expectation of others. Technology consistently proves there are no age barriers, just different learning and adoption choices within every generation.
We live in a day and age where ignorance is hard for people to accept any more than other excuses or justifications are, and they do wonder and look deeper for other root causes. They question if there is really something else going on with you, just as I’d mentioned how a hiring manager can wonder about a learning challenge or attitude of disinterest. People tend to be more understanding about a learning curve with job competencies, but they are much less understanding about someone choosing not to communicate with them in ways that they prefer or feel are easier.
Let’s hope not, and let’s all do our part with eliminating any rudeness or intolerance. Let’s offer to teach, help, and coach others, making it easier for them. Let’s talk about those joys of learning and the exciting and inspiring prospects of creativity and innovation. As Mother Teresa said so well in the context of eliminating poverty but very apt here too,
“If each of us would only sweep our own doorstep,
the whole world would be clean.”
To the point of this blog in particular, if you are an Alaka‘i manager or a leader, opting out of technology is not an option today. Alaka‘i managers and leaders are lifelong learners. They have to be. Their self-talk is always “Can do!”
So, we play full out: Let’s talk story. You now have three Alaka‘i ways to do so:
- Comment right here on the blog —I encourage you to introduce yourself so we can get to know you.
- Twitter with us @sayalakai —mahalo nui loa to those who have already jumped in there!
- Email me your questions for Sunday Koa Kākou —it’s no surprise to me that Sundays now capture some of the best postings here, for you make this happen.
More reading from the Say “Alaka‘i” archives:
- Hiding from the Web is Foolish: 5 Steps to Smarter (April 7th)
- How do you Learn? Really, how? (March 26th)
- The Digitally Savvy Workplace (March 8th)
- Communication is our Killer App (March 5th)
- Talking Story, Meet Twitter (March 3rd)
- Job Competencies for 2009: Let’s figure them out (January 13th)
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