1) The study or use of the mechanical arts and sciences; 2) These subjects collectively; 3) Technophile = An enthusiast about new technology.
Derive technology’s benefits while limiting its negative implications. When approaching critical technology decisions, soul-inspiring leaders put people ahead of technology by recognizing humans have natural limitations in adapting to advanced technologies. They defer to the human side of the equation rather than tip the balance always in favour of deriving more cost-saving benefits from technology.
Beware the “productivity paradox” in making IT investments. Watch out for increasing investments in IT for declining improvements in productivity. For leaders who pay attention to the “people touch” (while attending to an efficient “computer touch”), the net result is often productivity and profit levels that meet or exceed those of competitors who emphasize technology over people.
Integrate technology and process with great people practices. Advances in only one side of the equation will never yield the same productivity as a skillful balance between the two. Even a very slight one percent reduction in process efficiency and a similar reduction in people effectiveness instantly yield an overall four percent reduction in productivity. You cannot afford to ignore the impact of small issues.
Take care in how you improve front-line productivity. Research carefully your technology investments. Make sure they are not only advanced in performing routine transactions, at the expense of providing tangible assistance to employees. What is deemed “too expensive” to build into requirements may just be the investment that will benefit everyone – customers, the organization, employees.
Realize technology does not replace performance dialogue. Do not rely on ‘statistics’ generated by your systems, as if they would paint a complete picture of an employee’s overall performance. Technology should never replace an active and vital performance dialogue, disabling the relationship between employees and management. Otherwise, you risk the alienation of technology gone awry.
Stay away from an inspection mentality. While some executives might believe that “employees respect what management inspects”, it can actually have the opposite effect. It risks to cause employees to disconnect and disengage from anything other than the desire to be seen as perfect. They “hit the wall”, creating customer-impacting slowdowns where there had been none.
Ensure your treatment of people matches your policies. If your policies and procedures manual talks about “valued associates” while your application of productivity improvement initiatives feels degrading, employees will obviously fail to respect you. Their attitude in turn becomes: “Not my problem…customers will simply have to wait a little longer”. Talk about a backfire!
Test technology decisions for employee and company benefits. Soul-inspiring leaders always ensure technology is humanizing rather than dehumanizing. Second, they consider their rationale for investment to ensure balanced outcomes (between people and technology). Use technology to improve your speed of response to team issues, and watch the difference. You will see productivity levels soar!
Questions For Reflection
When you have had a bad technology experience, what made it that way, as contrasted with factors that contributed to a positive technology experience?
Does your organization emphasize technology/process or people, or a balance of both?
When you have fallen into technology/people practices traps, and how can you avoid them in future?