Real learning is a part of the work, not apart from it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Going Tech-for-Tat

In a Twitter conversation with Craig Taylor, who had recently surfaced a year old post he had done titled "I got it wrong...Or did I?", regarding the reaction to using technology while in a traditional face-to-face meeting I noted that the perception of technology use in meetings is still less than favorable a year removed.

Many still assume the worst when people are taping away on a screen rather than placing pen to paper. The misconception of course is that if on a device the individual is likely engaging in texting with a friend, accessing social media or playing a game; i.e. technology is folly and the devils playground. Ironically none of these same critics would ever consider the reality that the "notes" being documented by others using more traditional methods may be nothing more than the scribbling of cartoons or the start of a grocery list.

I may propose that what follows could be a solution for those who dare to wear the 21st century on our sleeve and work tirelessly to change beliefs and practices. This is a true story of a solution that involves not simply defending actions but proving them valuable.

A few months ago in a meeting a manager raised the issue that in a prior meeting she was discouraged by people texting on their phones during the event and proceeded to take a few moments to share her perspective with our group. Several people subtly slid their phones off the table and others seemed to distance themselves from their devices fearful of vibrating notifications or god forbid a call.  I was singled out with a sly comment by her of oddly enough, "not to single you out Mark..." but of course I was being singled out; lumped in and judged for I recalled the very meeting she was referencing and I did in fact use my phone. Of course I felt the immediate need to defend my actions and I let her know that I was actually documenting key points at which she interjected "likely story" with a slight smile... and the pushed on with the meeting.

Later as we wrapped up, she asked me how she could adjust push notifications on her new iPhone - and there it was! My eureka moment of how to turn from victim to vanquished.

In addition to providing her assistance in the request, I casually asked her about the apps she was using and suggested she look into Evernote. Time being money of course I simply said "well, we can chat off line about that." and we went our separate ways.

Later that day I shared my Evernote (via email) from the meeting that prompted her concern. When sharing a note from Evernote it prompts you to provide a message of which I wrote:

"This is Evernote that I told you about. You can see that it not only allows me to capture information on any device due to it being cloud-based but it allows me to share the information with anyone. Here are my notes from our May 10th Intranet meeting."
Snarky? Cheeky? Passive aggressive? ...maybe but remember:

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." - Samuel Adams

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