Focused, friendly, inspired, collaborative, outputs-driven, warm, respectful, innovative, wise, reasonable risk-takers, in synch, complementary, assertive, successful, cutting edge, high performance, visionary

 I attended a leadership course on Monday evening and we had to brainstorm a ‘dream team’.  The words above are a small sample of the ideas I copied off the flipchart.  The point of the exercise was to illustrate how many of the qualities of a dream team are based on meaningful relationships.

Judging from the success of networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace, it seems we crave interactions with and connections to other people.  Then why is it that there are so few dream teams around?  Why is it, that in a world that is obsessed with connectivity, we find it so difficult to build the relationships that are the foundations of visionary teams?

Apparently the average middle manager gets at least 80 email messages per day. Instant messages demand instant responses. Our costs of interacting have been reduced to almost zero but the volume of our interactions is heading towards infinity. There is no time to anticipate the future – people are too busy reacting to demands of the present.  The quantity of communication has increased but the quality has decreased.  There is no time to think.  Creativity lies dormant because everything else is more urgent.

Today we can connect better with Alaska and Outer Mongolia.  But, do we still connect with the same quality with the people who work on the floor below us?  Facebook, mobile phones and email have given us breadth not depth.  We are spread too thinly.  We have quantity, not quality.

I never really talk to my friends over the phone like I did when I was younger.  These days, I prefer to sms/text as it is short, sweet and to the point.  I don’t have long, relaxed chats where we let conversation wander off in spontaneous directions. I don’t think I connect with my friends in the same deep, personal way that I did when all I had to contact them was a land line at home.

To confirm other people feel the same, I did some informal research and conducted a poll among my female friends.  It turns out that most of them prefer to text rather than phone people directly.  One of my friends said, ‘I always text. I can let people know I am thinking of them without having a long, drawn out conversation.  It saves me time.’ 

When I make business calls, I have always found people are generally harassed and busy when I ring.  They almost always cut the conversation short and ask that I send them an email instead.  They often seem too busy to talk and prefer to have every single thing in writing. 

Are we really more connected than we have ever been before?  Have emails, instant messaging and other technologies done a disservice to some of the relational areas of life and business?



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