In The World is Flat, written by economist and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman more than a decade ago, he describes how the world has become flat now that instantaneous communication around the globe is possible. I think we would all agree.
Meetings were once held in board rooms with blackboards and coffee and Danish. And while we still have meetings in actual rooms with people around us, most meetings are now virtual. Videoconferencing is efficient and inexpensive, which makes it possible for us to hear and see colleagues anywhere in the world. We share documents in the cloud, basecamp, dropbox and more. We communicate across the globe with ease.
There’s no end to the changes we’ll see either since technology continues to rapidly evolve. While technology has fundamentally changed how we communicate, technology sometimes moves faster than our ability to adapt. Business consultant Mila Jones in her March 2019 blog readwrite discussed how enhanced technology has changed the nature of business and warns that “What AI already knows isn’t something that universities can predict, as such they can’t make sure that its graduates have all the skills and knowledge necessary. Instead, you’ll need to create your own training programs.” This is good advice.
At The Fedcap Group we work hard to ensure that staff are increasingly skilled in “all things tech”. Technology is foundational to our regular “what’s next” planning sessions. Technology is the backbone of our management of our financial, physical plant and human resources. Yet as we adapt and integrate the latest technology, we work hard to remember that we are not robots, and that no matter how sophisticated the technology, we are still all part of the human family. Because we are an international company, we use Zoom, Skype, Teams and other platforms to stay connected and at the same time, we hold what we call “Corporate Weeks” twice annually where leaders from across our growing footprint come together to share ideas and connect at a personal level.
Both strategies are important.
German blogger Monique Zander offers some tips for optimizing business communication in her blog 99designs. Among others, she suggests finding a way to use technology to our real advantage; use secure cloud storage solutions to make it easy to share data and documents with colleagues all over the world, pay attention to all the modern communication solutions that are arriving on the market now (including tailored apps for employee training), new and improved project management software, smart document management solutions, increasingly sophisticated chat rooms that encourage innovation and idea sharing, interactive dashboards that allow staff to engage in performance data…and so many more.
Technology, like so many things in life, provides significant opportunities and risks. Our jobs as leaders is to stay connected to our people—technology offers remarkable vehicles for doing just that.