We are so dazzled by the speed and expanding applications of the technology that we begin to think it is an adequate substitute for what it replaces. It is sold so hard as the answer that if you question it, you are called a Luddite—a stone wall against progress. In fact, the Luddites were right in their belief that industrialization would have huge negative effect on the family, the community, and traditional values. But that is not the point here. The point is that the hard cultural sell about the magic of technology creates an exaggeration of value. Speed is good, convenience is good, but a food processor never guaranteed a good meal and e-mailing my kids does not mean I have anything important to say to them.
Computer technology and the virtual world it creates is amazing, but it is just what it is. It is technology. It is not a substitute for relatedness, authenticity, meaning, or being of service in the world. It may not even be helpful. The big advantages of the virtual world are entertainment, speed, and cost. First, the virtual world is very entertaining. It is the answer to boredom, a distraction from all that ails me. I can fill every empty waking moment of my life with texting, e-mails, videos, podcasts, and e-books. And I control the media I turn to, so a little power is thrown in.
Some of these thoughts have been beautifully expressed by Peter Block in his book “Flawless Consulting”. Great reflection for HR professionals…
I believe the key is to understand what aspects of work are amenable to more speed and are cost sensitive. Any work that is relationship based at its core is going to struggle to deliver outcomes when more speed is expected and actual time in the room with people keeps shrinking. No matter how virtual we become, whether we are in the room together or on the airwaves or in cyberspace, HR will be a relationship based approach. We still need to be connected and ask how the other feels about working together. We need to understand others, listen for, talk through, convince, influence, guide, coach, question and much more.
About Shalini Adhaar
Shalini Adhaar has over 18 years of experience and has worked with organizations like Tupperware Brands, Reckitt Benckiser, Airtel, Nestle India Ltd, Bhartia Cutler Hammer & Tata Cummins. Shalini holds a PMIR from Xavier Institute of Social Service.