It seems that every few months, some new technology is invented that changes how we do business. I’m just old enough that as I started working in the late 1980s, the fax machine was relatively new technology, and if you exchanged documents with customers and vendors, it was done via fax or via messenger service. Mobile phones looked like bricks or were carried around in bags–or you had a “car phone.” Computer monitors were small, heavy and not very good. There were entire businesses built around printing out high-quality color laser prints–because most small businesses could not afford color printers.
Fast forward just under 25 years–and it’s all changed. Cell phones, tablets, PDF files, secure file delivery are all the norm. In the accounting industry, it’s normal to have multiple flat-screen monitors on our desks to do our work. I can’t remember how I got things done when I only had one 15″ monitor to work with. (Occasionally, I have to work on a laptop, and I am reminded.)
Cell phones are ubiquitous–and now tablets have become mainstream, too. You’re never more than a few feet away from a text mesage, an instant message or a video chat.
There is no question in my mind that technology changes much faster than people do. We adapt and use the technology–but old habits die hard. For example, most work can now be done at any computer that is connected to the Internet. People have more flexibility to work and get tasks done than ever before. That flexibility comes along with a small price–where is the line between work and professional life? However, most of us still cling to the command-and-control management style of having “butts in seats” at our offices, and requiring endless meetings or having people at their desks in case something comes up. It’s very hard for most of us to manage people unless we know where they are and how many hours they’ve put in this week.
Why do we do this?
Technology is changing constantly. There has been at least one new iPhone version introduced every year since the product was introduced. New tablets, computers, cars and televisions are coming out faster than ever. We’ve come to expect this and we embrace it.
What major upgrades have you made to yourself over the last two years? Are you still running the same “operating system” that you were two years ago? Five years ago? Longer? What upgrades do you need to make to grow and get out of your comfort zone?
Technology is changing faster than we are. Those of us who don’t try to change ourselves may find that we’re becoming obsolete more quickly than we think. E-mail me and let me know what you’re doing to change.