Category Archives: Communication

Living in the Shadow of Technology: Noise and Electronic Communication


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lt is like living by the freeway and hearing the noise of traffic passing by– hour by hour– day by day.  The noise of the traffic, constant movement, telling the story that people are busy and that life is moving on, everyone traveling in their own direction, but where are they going?  To a charted direction, toward a destination of choice, to a reality created, the panacea of choice: Traffic constantly moving, what does it mean? Creating familiar sounds, the constant clatter of technology moving day and night describing meaning, declaring truth moving forward on a journey to somewhere, but where will it go, and what does it mean? Familiar sounds, which resonate a message, machinery moving, always going, traveling at the speed of sound, advancing electronic communication at its finest; but is the message communication between humans or just the clatter of technology?

What the Trends in Social Networking Reviews Suggests: Identity Crisis and Confusion


Infographic on how Social Media are being used...
Image via Wikipedia

What impact is social media, networking having upon relationships? The question is simple and the answers given are loaded with different opinions. Relationships are at the core of the discussion and reveal changing perceptions and an emergent paradigm developing. A quick Google search will reveal pages of links to web pages that offer opinions and suggestions.

Business is integrated into social relationship creating potential questions about efficacy in mixing business and pleasure. In a recent blog on Harvard Business Review , Jodi Glickman notes that young adults in the workplace are abandoning emails and moving toward social media as one of their primary modes of communication, Because social media is so, well, social, the lines are becoming increasingly blurred between business and personal matters. ( Thom Rainer) An important part of the question is connected with a sense of self, identity, and role expectations.

The shifting reliance upon social media and networking sites raises an important question about how we understand relationships and utilize boundaries in regulating relationships to create effective outcome in life. An answer to the question about measurable impact upon relationships that it is good, but also bad. Social media has become so commonplace many have a hard time even thinking how they’d live without it. “We’re getting reliant on Facebook to keep us updated,” said Malia Griggs, editor of the University of South Carolina‘s student magazine. Griggs wrote an article last year taking a satirical jab at how Facebook is changing the way we communicate. Personal relationships, she says, are now a matter of public discourse. “It’s less personal its less between you and that person, now there’s room for others to come in and comment on it,” said Griggs. “There’s a lot more room for feedback from your friends and people who aren’t even your close friends.” You can tap into it anywhere, anytime — an online existence so vast and absorbing, most offices have policies against it. Malia Griggs The impact upon the business-relationship dichotomy has paradoxical implications: While on the one hand enhancing market presence, providing technological convenience, a constant Internet “Brand” which is identifiable and available, at the same time blurring the lines between professional and personal identity. Potential danger is identified by Glickman (2011) in Harvard Business Review who said that, “with technological interchangeability comes risk—maintaining relationships with friends with whom you do business and keeping business out of the realm of your friendships.” This observation identifies questions about how and what will define relationships as well as what principles govern what is appropriate in each context.

There is a wealth of information that shows how relationships, networking, and connection have upon business. However how can you know when, “friendliness has become a liability” (Glickman)? One good sign is when what occurs in the private world is so indistinct that there not a clear understanding of how professional identity is different from personal identity. Private problems on public networks bring people into your personal life that may not be anticipated or wanted. Attorney David Shea said that “In divorce cases, it’s amazing how often we use this now … We’re on Facebook several times a day.”( Shea)

Private problems become public matters affecting, not only the perception that people have, but it has an  impact upon effectiveness that can make or break a career, a marriage–your life. Everyone needs good friends, but a missing boundary that is important is privacy: everyone does not have the right to know everything about you– ask whatever they want, especially about deeply personal matters that may prejudice perception when shared.

Two good points to be made are: Collaboration is Critical and Relationships are Important. ( Thom Rainer) However, there must be fundamental balance discovered about what boundaries should characterize the shifting emphasis from a solo voice to group voice—individual identity and group identity. Social networking is not going away and is certainly the most effective immutable principle that will predict life or death in the business world today. More research needs to be done and greater understanding gained will be integral to creating responsibility and balance that says about social networking, “I choose to learn from it and make the best of it’ (Rainer).

Adjust Your Focus So You Can See Clearly


Out of Focus Picture

One of the great difficulties that leaders experience is the inability to change when it is necessary to stay vital and continue to experience success. One leadership principle that John Maxwell teaches in The Twenty One Laws of Leadership is that an organization cannot grow higher than the level of leadership at the top. He calls this the leadership lid. Does it seem like your organization is stuck; like someone has put a lid on the top and things have plateaued? It may be that the organization has grown as high as it can go because of the level of leadership it has. One of the reasons that organizations do not grow is because the leader has not been growing and as a result, both the leader and the organization are stuck in a complacent rut of ineffectiveness: everything is out of focus. Staying focused is difficult when you aim is off. One way to stay on track is by keeping a narrow focus. “…pressing towards the mark…” narrowing the focus to define what will be done. It is easy to look around and find someone to blame when things are not going well, but maybe the place to look is in the mirror and realize that when an organization is having difficulty that the answer may be that it is a leadership problem. One of the reasons we fall of track, so often, is that distractions, circumstances, and life change the center of our everyday world. The result is that organizations and leadership gets out of focus.

If there is one thing that will help leaders to continue to be successful, what would that be? People may have many different opinions, but the one defining truth is that leaders must continue to learn, grow, and develop their selves to maintain vitality. Learning to adapt to change is a requisite for leading in today’s leader. Talent Management Perspectives reports that, “Against the backdrop of an ever-changing global business environment and unstable economic conditions, it’s no longer sufficient for leaders to embrace the status-quo …”The organization has to lead change, rapid change. The environment is changing — someone’s inventing something before you expect it or something is collapsing in front of your eyes …’”It’s becoming much more important to deal with change and creativity and innovation and speed and nimbleness,” she said. “Those are part of producing the results; you have to pay attention to those factors”’ (http://talentmgt.com/talent.php?pt=a&aid=1310). It may be that leaders have a lot of information at their disposal, but knowing how to use the information and where to apply change in style, strategy, and innovation will define how leadership will be applied in the context of change.

Personal growth and development are indications of a leaders potential for success. The moment you stop growing, you stop leading. All leaders are learners because there is no growth without change and there is no change without being flexible. When a leader stops growing, he/she becomes inflexible. Effectiveness can be measured in terms of predispositions and attitudes toward having never done it that way before. If the attitude is maintained that, “I want to lead the way I used to lead, the way I’ve always led” is maintained, then yesterdays methods will only yield results in yesterday’s constructs. The attitudes and skills that brought you to this point in your leadership are not going to take you to the future. New problems require new solutions. New situations require new attitudes. New difficulties and new opportunities require new skills and new attitudes. What brought you this far and made you a success – that’s why success creates inability to manage new ideas and challenges, because the rules are forever changing.

The root behind resistance to change is fear. There are times when fear paralyzes forward movement: I don’t want to change because I’m afraid of loss–I’ve done it this way and I feel comfortable with it. Therefore what am I going to lose if I do ministry in a new way? The root is the fear of change. Whenever you find yourself resisting a new way of doing something, or defending the status quo or striving simply to repeat the past because it worked last, it may be that there is a danger of terminal failure. What’s the key to overcoming this trap in leadership? The antithesis is to never stop developing. Never stop developing your skills, your character, your perspective, your vision, your heart, and what you bring to your leadership.

Skill brings success. You may be dedicated to what you are doing, but if development of the necessary skills is not occurring, the tools you have may not fit a new situation. A farming analogy might be: you can’t use a corn harvester on a wheat field, a cotton picker in an apple orchard. The tools that are used have to match the context, culture, organization, people that you are working within. Consequently, if learning stops then the axiom, that people tend to rise to their level of incompetence and then they get stuck there, kicks in and drives what will happen.

Choose Your Words Wisely


Angry Talk (Comic Style)

The Power of Words : When you speak, do your words build up or tear down?

I have found that one of the easiest ways to decide what a person is like to listen to what they say in a conversation. Words betray a person or instill confidence in the speaker.  People who are successful in life are people who choose the company they keep carefully. Words can be bad company if they are not chosen carefully. The Bible says that kind people speak kind words and the evil hearted people have words filled with harm. People who have learned this find that words spoken either can destroy people or can be used to build people up. If your words were a company, would it be a Company of Demolition or a Construction Firm?

Three Ways Our Words Can Tear Down

Speaking Untruthfully Are the words you speak true and honest? Or are you deceptive in your words and business practices? “The Lord hates every liar, but He is a friend of all who can be trusted.” Proverbs 12:22
Speaking with Anger You have heard it before, but often counting to ten before opening your mouth has helped many relationships. “A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stir them up.” Proverbs 15:1

Speaking Gossip Would you say that about them if there were standing next to you? Would you want someone to say that about you “Gossip is no good! It causes hard feelings and comes between friends.” Proverbs 16:28

Ways Words Can Be Constructive

Speak Words of Encouragement . Any fool can tear something down, but it takes a wise man to build something or someone up. “Kind words are like honey they cheer you up and make you feel strong.” Proverbs 16:24

Speak About Others With Constructive Words. No matter how hard you have to look, find something good and talk about it! “If you can’t say anything good, then don’t say anything at all “Focus you attention on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worth of praise.” Philippians 4:8

Speak Words that Elevate Others Well placed words at the right moment brings wholeness to others. “Sharp words cut like a sword, but words of wisdom heal.” Proverbs 12:18

Words are the building blocks of success in life. Are you in the business of construction or demolition?