The rapid advancement of technology has fueled a high pace of change in business. It is undoubtedly shaping society and our leadership needs to evolve to embrace technology in a positive way.
At its worst, technology has led to a constant bombardment of information or “noise”. People are increasingly connected to technology and this can lead to disconnection at an emotional and physical level. Think of the families ignoring each other as they engage with their smartphones and tablets over dinner instead of engaging in conversation.
Social media has given people the confidence to attack others and has led to unattainable standards of body image, increased a culture of online bullying and causes a distraction from every day reality. The hours spent on Facebook and Twitter indicate the desire for connection but we’re left feeling deflated and more disconnected than when we started.
Used in this way, technology has contributed to fear and polarization in both business and society. But I do believe technology can shape our future for the better if we use it consciously.
Technology has enabled rapid advancement in solutions in healthcare, renewable energy and business in general.
Social media has opened up the door for larger circles of collaboration with more diverse groups. It increase our circle of friends, colleagues and acquaintances. I’ve met people at conferences and become great friends as a result of the ability to continue the connection through social media.
There are debates about how much technology influences election voting and the worry that our newsfeeds are driven by the things we like, leading to an imbalanced set of articles put in front of us and the naivety that we don’t realise we are being manipulated in this way. We must then be conscious of how we interact online.
Technology is not a replacement for being human. A more conscious awareness of how we use technology is needed going forward to ensure we use it to enhance business and society. Successful leaders in the future will integrate technological advances with their innate wisdom and emotions to ensure we create a future of connection rather than disconnection.
With the continuous increase in information and larger circles of contacts created through technology, leaders need to focus and gain clarity on what to pay attention to and what to ignore. The ability to sift out the important pieces of information and explore all angles of a debate or concept is critical to how decisions are made.
People joke about the fear of one person having the power to push a button that can have a devastating impact on society and our planet. Yet each day, each button you press on your keyboard has an impact… the emails you send, the online interactions you engage in.
Technology is surely advancing our society and our relationships. We must pay attention to how we use it, so that it is life affirming and enhances self-esteem and connection rather than destroying it.