Technology can act as a wall or a door between the organization and the customer. Too often it is becoming a wall....
I embrace technology. I love it. I'm surrounded by it. What I have to keep reminding myself is that it's not about the technology itself; it is about what we can do with the technology.
Peter Drucker is just a genius. I can't help being astonished by his insights, by the simplicity of his language and the clarity of his visions. In an article, Info-Clutter, for Forbes, Jack Trout quotes Peter Drucker:
"Computers may have done more harm than good by making managers even more inwardly focused. Executives are so enchanted by the internal data the computer generates--and that's all it generates so far, by and large--that they have neither the mind nor the time for the outside. Yet results are only on the outside. I find more and more executives less and less well informed (about the outside world)."
Here we get to a crux of a key challenge of the modern age. Computers give us this vast access to data. Some of this data is valuable information, but much of it is just useless noise. Even if we get rid of the noisy data, we may still be left with far too much "valuable information."
Jack Trout claims that:
"Currently, information processing accounts for one-half of the gross national product. A lot of it ends up on paper that someone has to read."
Could that possibly be true? Could it be even remotely true that HALF of gross national product is taken up in information processing?
"The following statistic might threaten you," Trout writes, "but today's business managers are expected to read one million words per week."
Let's do some basic math here. I estimate that we can comfortably read about 150 words per minute.
So, if you need to read one million words, that would take you 6,666 minutes. That's 111 hours, or almost 16 hours a day, seven days a week. And that's reading non-stop, without any coffee break!
So, that statistic couldn't possibly be right, could it? But even if you were supposed to read 250,000 words per week, that still requires four intense hours of reading every day, seven days a week. Now, I like reading, but reading for more than a half hour tires me out.
The first book I ever wrote was called The Caring Economy. Its basic message was that the more technological the world became, the more of a competitive advantage understanding what people
really cared about would become. That technology would ultimately look after all the repetitive tasks and that what we would be left with is feelings and emotions.
That an organization's technology would be pretty much identical to any other organization's. What would make it different was its relationships--its relationships with its staff, its customers, its suppliers, and with the general public.
A study by NFI Research found that 33 percent of senior managers believe that they are receiving significantly more regular communications from both internal and external sources than needed. However, only 3 percent feel that they send significantly more stuff than necessary.
Working with computers should carry a health warning:
WARNING: COMPUTERS ARE NOT PEOPLE. INTERACT WITH REAL PEOPLE FOR AT LEAST ONE HOUR AFTER USING THIS COMPUTER.
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