During the past twenty years, the landscape of communication has changed. It seems that everyone has a cell phone and a portable internet-enabled device. These devices have been great business tools that have allowed us to get answers quicker and keep informed of important events and news. They have also facilitated the globalization of business and helped us keep track of kids. There are many positive things that have resulted in development of these products.
However, It also seems that it is difficult for many people to go one minute disconnected from their network of friends and colleagues. I witness this in every place from the board room to the church pew. And in this world where we can be reached anywhere via phone, or text, or email we can actually work longer hours and spend more time attending to the needs of our business. But in doing so, are we actually doing what is best for the business?
Having the ability to talk to anyone at almost any time from anywhere gives us little time to think and reflect. In addition to taking this time away from us, technology has hampered natural succession planning in organizations. Before some of these constant communication devices were available, leaders took time to choose someone else to “be in charge” while they were out of the office. Their made their choices wisely and based on skill. They took time to develop them to make good decisions and handle a number of issues so that the business would run well in their absence.
Upon their return, they were able to quickly identify the employee’s strengths and further opportunities for development because the employee was given an opportunity to do the job without restraints. They were forced to make the decisions and handle whatever came up. There is no better learning for adults than that experience. However, today we spend thousands of dollars on trying to create perfect simulations so that employees can learn how to handle real scenarios. We also complain that we have a talent shortage. I would guess there are many worries in organizations today about what they will do if x employee leaves.
My advice, let x employee take a vacation without his blackberry and see what happens. Remember the best way to learn is experience.
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Sheri Mazurek is a training and human resource professional with over 16 years of management experience, and is skilled in all areas of employee management and human resource functions, with a specialty in learning and development. She is available to help you with your Human Resources and Training needs on a contract basis. For more information send an email to email@example.com or visit www.sherimazurek.com. Follow me on twitter @Sherimaz