The biggest problem in business is Communication. Every company I have worked at has had this challenge, and it continues to surprise me.
People think that technology is the edge that gives business victory. It does not. In many ways technology just confuses people and overwhelms them with data. So that instead of the intuitive decision-making of the past, it is discussed to absurdum.
For example, the technology team is often asked to do things that are perceived to increase productivity. This includes getting new computers or software. Now don’t misunderstand. I appreciate a company that invests in its workforce. However before they do this, they fail to do enough testing and see if the workforce will really take advantage of these systems.
I’ll give you an example. I worked at a place that went to iPads and this was supposed to increase productivity. At meetings instead of writing things down they could take notes, and it would mean that they wouldn’t need to print time consuming materials. They could just reference them on the iPad. Sounds great right?
The reality is that most people are slower typists than writers, and reading on a small screen is often less efficient for people. It might save paper/ink costs and time to print, but it just defers the costs to the labor costs of those highly paid executives. It doesn’t necessarily make things better, but it is perceived to be an advantage.
Ok I can hear you saying “Yes, but we know you are not fond of iPads so of course this is what you are going to say.” Lets assume that my feelings don’t matter in this argument. This would still be true that most people are not good touch typists on small keyboards. In addition, although in some ways finding text and correcting it on a screen is superior, it is still inferior to deal with multiple pages or multiple sources. I do feel limited when I have a large document and no reader I found is an easy and intuitive as a page book.
Yes Books are dying, and of course they need to. It isn’t a sustainable way to store and distribute knowledge. However if we are taking about efficiency, I would put a book up against an iPad any day to learn and reference.
So returning to the main topic, communication is key and technology doesn’t always make it easier. Choosing your tools is a large part of being an efficient person. I just wish people viewed their words as crucial to their success as their pencils and rulers.