The Para dox of Disruption

“The most seductive modern-day myth is that we have an unlimited amount of attention” – Richard Clark As a business execution specialist I see both the imitations to attention and what advancements in automations, robotic processes and AI can do to free our minds for more of what we love – when we let them. The idea of the technology nomad” (great term Ryan Vestby) combined with the uncertain times ahead (Jim’s article on Tip of the Spear) has led me to believe that, instead of helping us do more of what we love, technology has created a paradoxical tug of war between the rapid pace of change and our human needs. We are on the verge of a technology revolution (Amber Mac’s article) but we require our human needs on the front lines of all we do to ensure this is a change for our collective good – that we not only extend life, but give it quality and make it worth living (as we saw in the article by Lisa Sadach on Live Donor Donation).

But this is more easily said than done. In the past week alone I came across separate articles highlighting the alarming rate at which millennials are burning out, that suicide rates are on the rise, and that Canada is the third most sleep deprived country in the world.

I can relate. Though I’ve never considered myself an anxious person, I suddenly found myself unable to bounce back from stress. I found, over time, that a consistent pattern of anxiety, sleeplessness and brain fog were becoming the norm.

How can I help companies reach their potential when I wasn’t reaching mine? In a time when “things” come so easy why have they become so hard? While sitting beside an admired business owner at a leadership conference I got my answer.

A presenter had just delivered an insightful and informative keynote address, but sitting next to me was my colleague looking at his phone. A quick glance over showed me he was commenting on a social media picture of a cupcake, rather than listening and learning.

Now maybe this was a really important cupcake or maybe he was missing his kid’s birthday to be at the conference, but I immediately scanned the room of 150 or so people and a third were looking at their phones.

It became clear to me that technology can control us – if we let it. We innately desire human connection and a higher purpose. We want to contribute to the well being of our planet and of others.

These are intrinsic human needs. Technology’s only real place for us is in helping us meet our needs. When we ignore human interaction to stare at a screen, we are denying ourselves what we need and creating a deficit in our lives, a hole that we will try to fill with more of the same and always come up short.

We are on the verge of something potentially amazing– technology developments are poised to create a world where we can make our lives easier and happier. But, to do this, we need to keep technology where it belongs; doing the work humans no longer have to, so that we can do more of the things that humanity needs us to.

Jeff Tetz, Partner with Results Canada -The Business Execution Experts, are passionate about helping people build great companies. Jeff joined Results in 2011 to spearhead the Edmonton expansion and has since seen the Practice grow into a thriving consulting firm with offices in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. He’s part of a team of business execution specialists who help mid-sized companies unleash their potential through disciplined execution.

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