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Clear Minds during Information Revolution

Clear Minds during Information Revolution

Mar 2016

We are currently experiencing an information revolution that is touching every aspect of our lives, even the cornerstones of human interactions are being reshaped.

Childhood today cannot be compared with that of the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s. It’s not hard to list examples of how powerful and essential technology has become. We now use the term ‘google’ to describe the process of researching and investigating. Even our appliances, such as the humble fridge have become ‘smart’.

Sherry Turkle states; ‘We live in a technological world in which we are always communicating and yet we have sacrificed conversations for mere connection. We turn away from each other and toward our phones. We are forever elsewhere. But to empathise, to grow, to love and to be loved, to take the measure of ourselves or of another, to fully understand and engage with the world around us, we must be in conversation. It is the most human – and humanising – thing that we do.’

I’m surrounded by the impact of the information revolution. It has changed me in many ways. The draw of the smart phone is very strong. Every spare moment it calls for me to pick it up and do something with it. At times it consumes and clouds my mind.

When I need to do something it seems to guide my behaviour on how I must interact. I have found myself texting my wife, when a simple phone call would have been far more personal and effective.

These subtle changes can slowly diminish my personal connections and then decreases my ability to lead people effectively. In my leadership journey I have adopted two principles to help me remain effective and inspiring during the information revolution.

Clear Mind: I see this principle play out in two main areas. The first is to be emotionally present at the meetings I attend. I must engage my mind and emotions with the situation. To help me do this I turn my phone on silent and take it off the table. Secondly, I try to find time within my week to think and create. I give myself space by not rushing to my phone every single spare moment. Sometimes, it may mean that I take a longer walk at lunch without my phone or, if someone is running late for a meeting I just sit and wait for them. I try to find lots of little spaces to allow my mind to be still.

Value People: Sometimes I need to remind myself that behind the profile faces, emails or text messages are real people, like me. At times I need to choose face to face conversations. When we converse with real people, we need to remind ourselves that the exchange should not mirror our normal sharp and efficient digital behaviour. We should allow time to understand what the other person is saying before we begin to communicate our needs.

I recommend that you take time to consider your own principles to help you remain effective and inspiring during the information revolution. Reading, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, by Sherry Turkle may provide a great starting point.

Please call us if you would like to further discuss the demands of the information revolution on your leadership.

Jason Gallagher

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