At my recent Sharepoint presentation at SMBNation I failed to mention a really great quote I found from management guru Peter Drucker –
“We have to extend the range of human beings through tools they have to work with rather than through a sudden quantum jump in human ability.”
I think that this really encapsulates what we need to be doing with technology. Most businesses I have come across simply EXPECT their employees to be able to use the tools they are given. The reality is in fact that most people only use a tiny percentage of the full potential of an application simply because they do not know that all the features of the product. It seems to me that most businesses simply expect their employees to be ‘experts’ in things like Windows, Word and Excel. The reality is quite the opposite from what I have seen.
The issue is that most businesses have the tools but they fail to utilize them in an effective and efficient manner. Note how I said effective and efficient. Why? Simply because it is not much use being efficient if you aren’t firstly effective. You need to ensure that the task you are attempting is worthwhile and provides value. What’s the point of being efficient in something that has no value?
For all the benefits that technology has provided us it has also lulled us into some very poor habits. We continue to store vast amounts of unnecessary information simply because we can. When we run out of space we get more space rather than examining the necessity of what we have already saved and how to store that more efficiently. However, I think the single greatest fallacy of technology that people reinforce everyday is poor time management (or low productivity).
In simple terms they allow technology to dictate their routine and their responses. ‘Bing’ – Oh great a new email, I’ll interrupt what I’m doing to see what it says. How is that being productive? It is simply being Pavolv’s dog! Another great time waster people fall into is that when they want to procrastinate they’ll go to their email and scroll up and down for a while till they find an email they’ll reply to or delete. I know of many, many more examples like this and it is not the fault of technology per se, it is just that technology makes being unproductive so much easier and the vast majority of people continue to fall into this trap everyday, simply because they haven’t be shown how to be anything else.
I totally agree with Drucker’s statement but I would add that any use of the tools needs to be done effectively and then efficiently, but in essence people are not suddenly going to become smarter or more efficient by themselves are they now?