“Hi Ric, I learned about you on HR Daily’s blog. Given your knowledge, can you recommend a program that is good for doing 360-degree-feedback by computer without me needing to sit with the people to get their answers?” You just can’t make this stuff up?
The business world seems intent on automating and outsourcing everything it possibly can–under the guise of cost-cutting–only to bemoan that sales are not increasing as much as hoped.
Voice-recognition software has all but killed the “customer service call centres” that were once the mainstay of government and corporate. The cash register operators at petrol stations cannot even take your credit card from you and swipe it in their own machine to complete the transaction for you. We have to do that ourselves.
I received an e-mail where the writer inquired if it was okay for them to telephone me. I replied in the negative and could they next time SMS me first to seek permission before e-mailing to ask if they could call me.
Young adults text each other furiously, especially when in charge of a moving vehicle, it would seem. Teenagers instant message on Facebook to share stories and messages. Celebrities and politicians Twitter with abandon glee. But where’s the communication? We’re losing the art of language, but even more, we’re losing the art of relationships.
Strange though, don’t you think?
Because these same people will pay princely sums to go to a live concert, event, sporting match, etc. When everything else is being automated, outsourced and kept at arms-length (I observed two sisters text messaging each other on their iPhones when they were in the same house – one upstairs and one downstairs); why is there not the same disdain for live music concerts? After all, buy the CD or download the MP3 from iTunes and you can have the music forever and replay a million times for a lot less money. But once the concert is finished, you go home, and it’s gone forever!
But at the concert you’re with other people. Rubbing shoulders, cheering, clapping, dancing. There’s an energy in the crowd that comes from large groups of people publicly sharing a mutual interest. You have a relationship with strangers who you’ve never met prior and you’ll never meet again, but you have a relationship for a few hours because they support the same team as you.
So, we’ll pay five, or ten or twenty times more to see a concert than buy the CD, because we love the buzz of a live event and the people we’ll share it with. We’ll pay exorbitant ticket prices to watch an olympic event that we could possibly watch on television for free.
And, yet in our banks, governments, telcos, health funds, insurance companies, bookstores, petrol stations, hotels and the like, the people in those organisations–in most organisations–are going out of their way to stay out of the way of building relationships with people. Even though, we all prefer to have relationships and would spend more money with those who are willing to have relationships with us.