It seems logical: To extinguish a fire put water on it. That’s what everyone does, right?
The normal solution, however, isn’t always the right solution: Pour water on a grease fire and you’ve just made matters worse.
This explains a self-inflicted problem many cross-functional teams have: In the quest to solve collaboration issues, technology was purchased. (There’s a fire! Get some water…) But if productive interpersonal dynamics were that easy to develop, then every teenager with a smart phone would have more transparent, healthier relationships with their parents.
The brilliant Jim Kouzes shared some insights from research and trends that are worth forwarding:
“The more we digitize the workplace, the more we need to humanize the workplace. Human interaction skills increase in importance when more work is done through analytics, machines, and digital devices.”
If everyone on your cross-functional team possesses exemplary skills like empathy and emotional intelligence, then you’re positioned well to leverage investments in technology.
To equip teammates with even average empathy or EQ skills with technology, however, will likely result in a deterioration in collaboration. (Wait! That’s a grease fire…)
Next year: What’s your budgeted spend on technology in relationship to developing the interpersonal skills of the team? Are you humanizing your workforce at the pace with which you are digitizing your workplace?
Not all fires are the same.