We know change is always happening. Being effective leaders means taking the time to notice how the changes in the digital world are impacting your team, especially looking out for those future business leaders of America who are making strides in new technology. Most of the time, change happens in increments that occur slowly enough that you don’t realize how much you have been impacted. But not always!
This is the way the new book TXT ME by B Bonin Bough effected me. The subtitle is: Your Phone Has Changed Your Life. Let’s Talk About It. After only reading the first chapter, I was struck by how much indeed my life has changed via my mobile phone and it had not really occurred to me until I read this, just how much. The mobile phones has changed my life little by little, year after year with the past 2 years really picking up speed. And I do want to talk about it because I think there are more changes we have yet to deal with in the business world.
On the surface, the idea that the phone has changed our lives seems rather obvious. We all know how consumed people are with their phones when you hang out at a coffee shop, or wait in a check out line at the grocery store, or attend a concert. Everyone is dialed in, taking photos and selfies, texting messages, posting on social media and checking email. And we’re doing this all the time. What meeting at work doesn’t start with being asked to silent phones or better yet, put them away?
NOW LET’S BRING THE CONVERSATION TO WHY ITS NOT SO OBVIOUS ON HOW THE PHONE IS CHANGING LEADERSHIP.
Bonin’s purpose for writing this book: “When I look across the digital environment, the big questions I keep asking are: How have our relationships changed across the social landscape and in what ways? Are these changes positive, destructive or somewhere in the middle? What does it mean to be a leader, a parent, an artist, a boss in a conversational environment that doesn’t trust past forms of authority and leadership, that sees slowness and inequality as “old-school”, that worships at the tabernacle of “real-time” and “now-ness and that often, due to immaturity lacks perspective as the where digital technologies might be taking us.”
Bodin goes on to say that technology has created a disconnect between organizations and our life outside of work. Outside of work, our mobile phones, that are with us all the time, give us control over how we want to get information, watch tv shows we like on demand, listen to the music we prefer, learn from podcasts we download and listen to while commuting, tracking our fitness, calculating our calories and hours of sleep, informing us what to ask our doctors about. We can decide in the morning to buy a new printer, research our options and purchase it immediately without having to leave home.
The big news story, he believes, is that our mobile phones are far less integral in our work lives as our personal lives, thus creating a chasm that is just beginning to be a factor for organizations and their leaders. Part of the reason is that may organizations have yet to fully harness the power of the mobile phone as a communication platform in the same way that it is accessible in our personal lives. There could be many reasons deserving of further analysis at another time.
IN THE MEANTIME, LET ME SHARE WITH YOU SOME QUESTIONS THIS BOOK RAISED FOR ME; WORTHY OF SOME REFLECTION:
- Boldin notes, Mobile phones, among other technology, have “equalized or democratized traditional master-servant, command-and-control relationships,” because information is highly accessible to anyone with a smart phone. What can a leader do today to leverage the mobile phone to exert influence and engage with employees who often hear about news within the company from external sources before it’s been announced? What does that do to the credibility of leaders who did not make communication about sensitive issues more personal and real time?
- In a world where micro-content is the norm (140 characters is a tweet), how does this “less is more” content conditioning impact the way a leader communicates with employees? How long can they expect to hold their employee’s attention if the depth of the message requires macro content?
- We often see influencers in their field use tweets to share a point of view with their followers. Will this become a new way for every day leaders to do the same to communicate with their employees and customers? Who is skilled to support leaders on how to vet their messaging to be appropriate to these communication platforms?
- How can leaders leverage mobile phones to deliver their messages to people who are “always on and judge slowness and inequality as old-school”?
- How do leaders use real time messaging via texts when there is a growing base of employees who want more separation from their work and personal lives, yet worship at the tabernacle of “real-time” and “now-ness?
- What impact does it have when your boss texts you vs. anyone else? Have the rules engagement about texting been explicitly discussed or is it left to the employee’s assumption how urgent it is respond to a boss’s text message?
- What type of useful communication can the mobile phone enable the exchange of between a leader and their employees beyond email?
- How secure is communication between a leader and employee when shared in a text vs. an email?
- What if you are a Baby Boomer boss in an environment comprised of a majority of millennials who are characterized to “mistrust past forms of authority”? How can your use of mobile communication help you bridge the generational gap or contribute to it?
- What is useful to share about yourself on your personal social media sites that can be seen by your employees?
- How easy is it for your employees to search your intranet for an answer to their needs to solving their business issues compared to searching Google?
Many companies strive for transparency of communication and struggle with the complexity that this entails on levels from the most pragmatic from filtering what to say to complex such as the legal and compliance aspects. I encourage you to check out Bodin’s book and explore your own experience of how the mobile phone is changing how you lead in your business. I would bet you could find at least one thing that has crept up on you in the past year or so, where you could do a better job at leveraging how you use your mobile phone more effectively in your leadership.
For more reflections on leadership trends, Click here or below!
How have you seen the impact of our digital world in your leadership? Tell us below!