How technology is changing the manager’s brain


World Business carries this feature from Baroness Greenfield.

Two quotes from the piece stood out:

1. "Working on the screen is having a massive impact
on the way we think and process information. The screen culture is not
conducive to taking time to think – everything is instantly available.
The result is iconic thinking, quick fixes and short attention spans."

I agree with her that we are only just beginning to appreciate the implications of the tech-saturated environment we live in. The ability to focus and concentrate on things without distraction/interuption is becoming increasingly difficult. For example, developing a long term communications strategy needs time to be thought about and written – yet the expectation is that it can be delivered in hours rather than days or weeks. Strategy now seems be code for: "what are we going to do over the next week"  rather than months or years.

Instant responses and instant decision making are becoming the norm – but responding and deciding for the sake of it with no real basis for doing so is surely a recipie for failure? Nothing wrong with going with your gut instinct (pace Malcolm Gladwell), but relying on it in every situation might be a little risky.

2: "We assume that people want to work for other people – but that may
not be the case in the future. At the moment a lot of our pleasure is
derived from status, but I think soon that will be challenged – people
just won’t be motivated in that way. It’s just another arms race and I
think we’ll evolve to a point where people aren’t so status-obsessed."

This could spell the end for traditional, monolithic corporations,
she says. As the various rationale for forming large companies – for
example, to reduce the cost of gathering in materials – become less
important, smaller, more virtual units will emerge that are independent
but work through a variety of networks of other organisations, she
insists.

Nothing new here – small is beautiful, virtual teams, etc – but point about people not being so status obsessed has an air of truth about. More specifically, when people realise what they are expected to sacrifice in terms of life and health in order to "get to the top", I do think many more people will decide its not worth the effort.

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