“[The world] ca…

“[The world] can’t really be flat if you have half the population either discouraged from or discriminated against when it comes to economic activity because you will not be as productive as you will otherwise…It’s very strategic. Where women are more equal, you have less instability, fewer conflict, greater democracy and a powerful government. These go hand in hand.” Hillary Clinton, retrieved from http://time.com/49751/hillary-clintons-best-advice-for-succeeding-in-a-mans-world/

This statement by Hillary Rodham Clinton really sums up what I am feeling today.

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Digital Strategy

The digital era is also known as the “Age of Distraction” (Schwartz, 2013).  In myself, I see myself trying to do many things at once, aka multitasking, which it seems that communication technology seems to lend itself to (driving and talking/texting, looking at my phone when I am with people, eating, shopping, etc.).  Schwartz (2013) purported that multitasking is better described as “continuous, partial attention”, and recommended that one schedule a “digital sabbath” daily (p. 2).   This is a good reminder for me to be more intentional about my use of digital communication technology, both at home and at work, and I must think of it as “protected time.” (Schwartz, 2013, p. 2). 

This has led me to highly value skills in people who can put the technology down and focus and clearly think about a task, or subject through its completion.  I suspect fewer mistakes are made when a person has this kind of focus.   As a leader, this causes me to look for employees who know how to focus and prioritize.  Schwarz (2013) pointed out psychologist Daniel Goleman’s statement that “because attention is under siege more than it has ever been in human history, we have more distractions than ever before, we have to be more focused on cultivating the skills of attention” (p. 1).  Schwartz (2013) discussed New Zealand longitudinal study on concentration done with 1000+ children by Moffitt and Caspi from Duke University who found that “the ability to concentrate was the strongest predictor of success.” (p. 2). 

According to Mercurius (2006), a digital-age thinker is one who is values globalization via “strong human relationships, a constant effort to unite people . . . around topics which they feel passionate . . . and are change practitioners (p. 3).”  He noted that “digital-age leaders must bring the past and the future into alignment by being:

  • Knowledgeable and literate in their field;
  • Systemic and strategic thinkers;
  • Successful at implementing major projects or programs;
  • Able to communicate, motivate, and cultivate;
  • Confident in making important decisions with limited data;
  • Self-assured;
  • Attuned to the values and benefits of globalization; and
  •   Infused with technological savvy (Mercurius, 2006, p. 3).”

Digital-age thinkers are “motivated by their freedom” and this encourages the use of laissez-faire leadership that allows employees to carry out the business’s mission and vision without undue oversight.  Thus, these knowledge workers are best led by those who possess:

  •  “Agility — the ability to make decisions quickly and decisively,
  • Capacity — the innate ability to thrive on ambiguity,
  • Authenticity — the ability to be consistent and credible,
  • Connectivity — the ability to bridge differences and generate trust,
  • Inimitability — the ability to capitalize on talents and intangible qualities, and
  • Passion — the ability to infuse passion for building teams and great organizations” (Mercurius, 2006, p. 7).

Wilson, Goethals, Sorenson, and Burns (n.d.) believed that leaders in the digital age should be:

“flexible and adaptable, and possess wide intellectual curiosity and a hunger for new knowledge. They must be willing to see value in sharply different perspectives, and be comfortable with uncertainly, and like all leaders at all time, must possess true passion for what they do. They look globally for solutions and challenges, and also hunger for constant learning and insist on constant learning from their collaborators and followers. They maintain a more egalitarian and results oriented approach than earlier leaders needed.“ (p. 3). The authors go on and noted what I think is the most important attribute, that of a strong moral compass to direct their actions. 

As recommended by Larson, Miller and Ribble (2009), I plan on staying up to date with the trends of technology, but not try out every tool available to me.  I need to be aware of what is being used in my field and be proficient with that technology.  The best way for me to master new technological skills is to teach it/share it with others.  Perhaps I will need to seek out a technology mentor!  Thank you Dr. Watwood for showing me where to look to stay up to date with technology.  I will be more mindful of my “digital citizenship” (Larson, Miller, and Ribble, 2009) and the responsibilities therein.  I plan to write down my own digital strategy for personal and professional purposes. 

References

Friedman, T.  (2007).  The world is flat. New York, NY:  Picador.

Mercurius, N.  (2006, March 1).  Leadership:  Become a digital-age thinker.  Retrieved from  http://www.techlearning.com/ideas-

          and-opinions/0021/leadership-become-a-digital-age-thinker/43352#

Schwartz, K. (2013, December 5).  Age of distraction: Why it’s crucial for students to learn to focus. Retrieved from

           http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/12/age-of-distraction-why-its-crucial-for-students-to-learn-to-focus/

 Wilson III, E. J., Goethals, G.R., Sorenson, G., and Burns, M.  (n.d.).   Leadership in the digital age. 

           The Encyclopedia of Leadership.  Retrieved from http://www.cidcm.umd.edu/leadership/Leadership_in_the_Digital_Age.pdf

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More Connection, Less Connection

More Connection, Less Connection.

Warman (2011, July 5) reported that “Those people who felt overwhelmed by new technology were also more likely to feel unsatisfied in other areas of their lives.” (retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8615989/One-in-three-overwhelmed-by-technology.html ).  Do you think this is a trait of the individual, or the general effect of too much technology too fast?  How would you as a leader manage this phenomenon?

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Tech Overload?!? What is our relationship like with technology?

Man with technological devices floating around his head photo credit:

           http://www.chartersoftware.com/overwhelmed-by-technology

The amount of technology and its uses can be a bit overwhelming.  How does one lead staff through the communication technology maze? Excitement about new technology (List of Emerging Technologies, 2013) can quickly develop into feelings of being overwhelmed by the amount of new technology to learn.  Davis (2013) suggested that companies do an inventory and assessment of communication technology.  Davis at Charter Software (2013) proposed eight recommendations:

 

  1.      “Evaluate. In looking at your technological assets, try to objectively evaluate what the software/hardware is doing, and what it can do. Oftentimes we have lots of capacity and even more capability, but we might only be utilizing a small portion of our assets. Understanding what you have and what it can do can save lots of expense in the future. A subjective evaluation—how your employees feel about the tools they have been given—is also important. If they feel their tools are too difficult or not meeting needs, they will not utilize them. Most often there is a lack of training and accountability for consistent utilization of tools.
  2.      Integration. What system talks to the other? Frequently, we have disparate systems, none of which are communicating with each other. If we were to single out one issue that is prevalent in most businesses, it would be that the different systems do not communicate with one another. Today’s technology allows for integration and should allow your inventory system, customer relationship management (CRM) system and billing systems to speak with one another. The number of companies that have spent thousands of dollars on a new system only to find out that it does not easily integrate with other systems in place at the company is innumerable.
  3.      Consider Mobile Technology. As we move forward with more and more mobile technology, our systems, like our companies, need to be agile and flexible to include the ability for mobile interfaces. Sales departments should be able to add leads and create quotes via their smartphones. Customers should be able to access a mobile optimized web platform.
  4.      Plan. Create a technology plan that is tied to your strategic business plan. Often dealers forget the importance of assessing their technological capacities when considering strategic objectives. For example, if rentals were a new focus of your business, does your current system support the business model? This plan needs to focus both on short-term and long-term needs of the business. Take into consideration future growth and new technologies that will give your business an edge in the marketplace. Also, plan the development of the capabilities of your internal staff, including training opportunities to enhance capabilities that are missed by department managers. Do all employees have a technology capabilities development plan?
  5.   Get independent Advice. Most of the information we receive comes from vendors whose main purpose is selling the latest and greatest technology. Although there is a wealth of knowledge available through these vendors, there is also a bias based to their own particular product strengths.
  6.   Learn Best Practices. Take advantage of the opportunities that technology brings your company to grow by paying attention to best practices in our industry. Suffice it to say that someone is utilizing the new and emergent technologies to gain a market advantage. Remember that those who lead will have a window of opportunity to maximize the opportunity these technologies provide” (Davis, 2013).

I underlined the phrase above that struck me the most:  “A subjective evaluation—how your employees feel about the tools they have been given” (Davis, 2013).  Let us not forget the human factor.  Just because new technology exists, does not mean that it meets the needs of the staff in the work that they do for the organization.  Coxon (2013) reinforced the importance of this statement when she noted that “people who felt in control of their use of communications technology were more likely to be more satisfied with life” and thus their job.  She noted in the article that “there are examples where people are not managing usage as well as they could be – it is not necessarily the amount but the way in which it is used.”  This article went on to compare the use of technology to that of the human diet . . . “To stay healthy, you need to eat a balanced diet.  The same is true when it comes to using technology; you need to find a balance which works for you . . . (such as) the Balanced Communications Diet, our equivalent of the five a day you need to help maintain a healthy relationship with technology.” (Coxon, 2013). 

Another article I found by Bedell (2013, February 25), mentioned the guilt that some experience when receiving assistance in using technology.  He shared five points that should assuage any guilt one feels for being on the receiving end of learning technology:

  1. “The fact that you are feeling guilty shows that you care and still are trying to improve your practice. This is important and to your credit.
  2. There is no need to try to keep up or try every idea that your tech person or administrator sends your way. There is a reason that technology coaches/facilitators/coordinators and library media specialists make keeping up with technology trends a major part of their job. They can help. Lean on them.
  3. Stick with what fits. When we are integrating new technology, always start with the learning objective. What do you want the students to learn and do? This should guide your decision making. A lot of resources are out there, but not all tools will fit all purposes. If you try to force something that does not fit, it will not work to its full potential.
  4. In a given time period, try to pick a tool or a technique and go more deeply with it. For example, we’ve been focusing a lot on digital storytelling at my school in the elementary grades. It started out just as another means of creative writing, but now students are also using it as a means to explain science concepts. Train students in how to use a tool and then explore the different applications of it with them. Using a tool deeply is arguably much more beneficial to students than using many superficially.
  5.  As you master a tool, consider offering to share how you use it or even co-teach a lesson (if your school allows for this). Teachers rightfully are much more likely to accept the utility of something when they see a colleague having success using it to help his/her students learn” (Bedell, 2013, February 25).

Bedell (2013, February 25) wisely pointed out that an important goal with technology is its thoughtful use by leaders and followers in order to improve the greater good.  As I reflect back on the two “A Day Made of Glass” videos on YouTube, I could not help but think that that type of living will be done only by the rich.  I suspect the gap between the rich and the poor will only continue to grow wider if these videos are predicting the future. 

As for Kevin Kelly’s (2011, July 22) keynote, one of the statements that stood out for me is “If it’s not in real time, it doesn’t count.”  That is a scary statement to me.  How will this type of impatience affect our world?  Humans are emotional and impulsive, and are highly affected by stress.  It would seem that this could place our world leaders in a sort of tinderbox related to foreign policy.  If one country does not get what they want, can they no longer take a few hours or days to think about how to respond to a crisis?  Must they react in “real time?” 

Lastly, the Google Glasses, sort of made me experience motion sickness.  I think that it would also make one a target to get robbed (or run over by a car) as a person would be less likely to be paying attention to their surroundings.  I have a fear that using Google glasses would be like my grandmother used to say, “Your eyes are going to get stuck if you keep crossing them like that!”

References

Bedell, J. T. (2013, February 25).  Overwhelmed by new tech?  You’re not alone.  JTB

           Consulting. Retrieved from

           http://jasontbedell.com/overwhelmed-by-new-tech-youre-not-alone

Corning, Inc.  A day made of glass: Corning’s vision for the future with specialty glass at  

           the heart of it video.  Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com

          /watch?v=9qmwdbhsbVs&feature=youtu.be

Coxon, R.  (2013). Overwhelming technology disrupting life and causing stress new

           study shows. 

Mental Healthy.  Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/news/568-

           overwhelming-technology-disrupting-life-and-causing-stress-new-study-

           shows.html

Davis, J. M.  (2013). Overwhelmed by technology?  Charter Software, Inc.  Retrieved from

          http://www.chartersoftware.com/overwhelmed-by-technology

Google Glasses Project. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSnB06um5r4

Kelly, K. (2011, July 22).  NExTWORK:  Kevin Kelly.  Retrieved from

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXPfSrmzLo0

Wikipedia (2013).  List of emerging technologies.   Retrieved from

           http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emerging_technologies

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Tech Overload?!?

Tech Overload?!?

What is our relationship like with technology?

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Electronic Aggression: Technology and Violence

Electronic Aggression:  Technology and Violence

As noted on my employer’s website:  “Bullying is harassment that sometimes is manifested in the form of discrimination, or hazing.  Bullying can include in-person behavior and cyber activity.   The term bullying is often used for Pre-school and K-12 school age children while harassment is more often used for college students and adults.  To build the connection between these terms, this website directs viewers to policies and programs established to combat harassment regardless of its name.  Bullying toward  . . . anyone . . . (student or employee) is not acceptable.” (Wayne State College, 2013).  The website includes policies for students and employees.  I work as a mental health practitioner with college students.  I often work with students to address the effects of current and past bullying (including cyberbullying).  Although this blog post centers on cyberbullying, the intent and effects are the same. 

(Graphic from stopbullying.gov)

According to the Centers for Disease Control (2013), the definition of bullying, whether via technology or in person, is the “attack or intimidation with the intention to cause fear, distress, or harm; a real or perceived imbalance of power between the bully and the victim, and repeated attacks or intimidation between the same people over time.” Cyberbullying happens via technology (videos, pictures posted or texted, blogs, chat rooms, e-mail, etc.).  The effects of cyberbullying are that victims are at higher risk to “use alcohol and drugs, skip school/work, have lower self-esteem, have more health problems” (Stopbullying.gov, 2013).  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointed out research in 2012 from Lindfors et al. that “youth who are victimized electronically are also very likely to also be victimized off-line (i.e., sexually harassed, psychological or emotional abuse by a caregiver, witnessing an assault with a weapon, and being raped).”  (2013).

Why is cyberbullying so prevalent? 

(Graphic from stopbullying.gov)

“The administration failed to reinforce policies designed to create a safe school climate. It left students feeling unprotected from unacceptable behavior.” (Nelson, 2013).  Administrators and employers alike might purport that they cannot intervene if they are not aware of the bullying and cyberbullying.  This is where policies and procedures can be helpful, but the having leaders (administrators and managers) in place who are approachable is important as well.  Students and employees know soon enough which administrators and managers will look the other way when trouble is reported. 

What should one do in a cyberbullying situation?  TeensHealth.org (2013) recommends that

  1. Report the abuse and to speak up until someone helps.   
  2. Walk away from the electronic device and take a break. 
  3. Refrain from the desire to strike back electronically.
  4. Document the abuse by keeping a copy of the communications.
  5. Alert your service provider of the cyberbullying.
  6. Block the abuser from contacting you again.
  7. Practice safe online and phone procedures with passwords and be circumspect when posting personal information and photos.
  8. If one witnesses a friend acting as a cyberbully, let him/her know that it is not okay. 

Many institutions of higher education are teaching bystander intervention techniques to college students.  They are in the best position to intervene in cyberbullying situations.  It is a positive way to counteract cyberbullying.  Have you ever benefitted from a peer standing up for you in a bullying or cyberbullying situation?

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. 

          (2013).  Electronic aggression:  Technology and youth violence.  Retrieved from

          http://www.cdc.gov/violencePrevention/youthviolence/electronicaggression/index.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  (2013).  Understanding bullying.  Retrieved from

          http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pub/understanding_bullying.html

Lindfors et al.: Cyberbullying among Finnish adolescents–a population-based study. BMC

          Public Health 2012 12:1027.

Nelson, M. L.  (2013, September 17).  A personal perspective on cyberbullying.  Retrieved from

          http://www.stopbullying.gov/blog/2013/09/17/personal-perspective-cyberbullying

Stopbullying.gov.  (2013).  What is cyberbullying?  Retrieved from

          http://www.stopbullying.gov/

TeensHealth (2013).  Cyberbullying.  Retrieved from

         http://kidshealth.org/teen/homework/problems/cyberbullying.html#

Wayne State College.  (2013). Bullying/Harassment.  Retrieved from:     

          http://www.wsc.edu/counseling_center/personal_counseling/bullying/

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The tech balance.

Week 5 ILD 831 Assignment 11/22/2013

Develop a list of opportunities that networked workers bring to an organization, as well as challenges associated with networked workers.  Keep the focus of your initial post and responses tied to this week’s learning objectives:

  • Describe the pros and cons associated with freely available internet access to workers.
  • Discuss ways that challenges brought by the internet can be co-opted as opportunities.

A networked worker is a person who commonly uses e-mail, the Internet, cell phone and other digital media to do their professional work as well as to attend to their personal matters (Techweb, 2008).

Networked Workers Opportunities:

  1. Networked workers bring the diversity of their contacts to the organization.
  2. They bring flexibility to the organization as they have the ability to function for the business outside of normal routines.
  3. Technological communication devices make work easier (not always better) (Techweb, 2008).
  4. Networked workers find it easier to communicate ideas (Techweb, 2008).
  5. Working from home equates with the perception of increased benefits by the networked worker, as commute time is limited.

Networked Workers Challenges:

  1. It is expensive to continually upgrade technological communication devices.
  2. The flexibility of technology also brings another level of stress to the worker (Techweb, 2008).
  3. Communication technology intensifies the demands on the worker to work more hours.
  4. Networked workers experience blurred boundaries and have difficulty keeping work time and personal time separate.  Thus, they experience less time thinking/worrying about work responsibilities when they are supposed to be rejuvenating themselves in their free time from work.
  5. Networked workers get distracted from work by their personal business that is so easily connected to at work via the devices.

According to Madden and Jones (2008), white-collar workers possess more technological devices.  The tables below summarize the networked worker:

Like in many other areas of life, it is imperative that a person strive for balance and focus on keeping oneself healthy.  Despite communication technology being a good thing, a good thing taken too far or used without limits/rules can quickly become a bad thing.  An example is the automobile.  The automobile had many advantages, but when used with disregard to traffic laws and with poor judgment, negative consequences follow.  However, few people in the United States would choose to live without an automobile once they have access to one.  Thus, one of the on-going challenges of technology is to use it in moderation.  Technology is best balanced with time spent in nature.

References

Madden, M., & Jones, S. (2008). Networked Workers. Washington D.C.:  Pew Research

Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Techweb.  (2008, September 24).  ‘Networked workers:’ Connected, distracted, stressed. 

Retrieved from http://www.techweb.com/news/210603761/networked-workers-

connected-distracted-stressed.html

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