Thursday, April 23, 2009

RELATIONSHIPS CONNECT US, NOT TECHNOLOGY

Have you ever been at a meeting with someone who leaves their IPhone on? And every time they get an email or a phone call or a Tweet, a little bell on their phone goes "Ding" and then that person's eyes are down on that IPhone trying to see who contacted them and what the message is. Holy smokes, is that annoying. Plus, ya know, communication is something like 90% nonverbal so that person whose eyes are glued to their IPhones is totally missing all the nonverbal cues they need to be registering and responding to and, well, the quality of the meeting goes to pot 'cuz they can't focus on the PEOPLE around them.

Me to people who leave their IPhones on at meetings: STOP IT!! Be with the PEOPLE who are at your meeting!

Margaret Wheatley, one of the great thinkers on the topic of leadership and community has this to say about technology:

Knowledge management is not about technology. [...] [W]e modern managers are dazzled by technical solutions. If people aren't communicating, we just created another Web site or online conference. [...] But these technical solutions don't solve a thing if other aspects of the culture - the human dimension - are ignored.

[...] [I]n the absence of face-to-face meetings, people have a hard time sharing knowledge. It's important to remember that technology does not connect us. Our relationships connect us. We share knowledge because we are in relationship, not because we have broader bandwidth available.

-- From Margaret Wheatley's Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time
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