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September 21, 2012 » 3:37 pm

Successfully Integrating People and Technology

My work is about helping groups come alive. There is nothing inherent about this work that requires digital technology, although I often find myself leveraging it in different doses.

The reality is that many people want to work with me because I know a lot about technology. They think it gives me a leg up in leveraging technology to support people work.

They’re wrong (despite what I’ve said in the past). It helps, but it’s not the primary reason I can do this kind of work successfully. The main reason for my success is that I have an uncomplicated relationship with technology.

Your level of technology literacy has little to do with how complicated your relationship is with technology. Lots of people who know a lot about technology end up worshipping at its altar, seeing the world through a tool lens that often distracts them from the goal. They’re the type of people who will lecture you on features or inner workings without actually addressing whether or not a tool will help you do your job.

Then, of course, there are people who don’t know much about technology because they are afraid of it. A lot of these folks are smart, high-functioning people who suddenly become paralyzed at the notion of interacting with a screen or keyboard. They are the ones who are defensive about their lack of knowledge, who preface every statement with, “I’m not a techie, but….”

Basing your identity around what you don’t know is just as insidious as basing it around what you do know. It serves as an obstacle to what’s actually important, which is having a learner’s mindset regardless of what you already do or don’t know.

The best tools have wonderful, magical properties, but at the end of the day, they’re still tools, and their job is to do what I want them to do. As long as you understand that, and as long as you approach your work with a learner’s mindset, you can be successful at leveraging technology to help groups come alive.

It’s a lot easier said than done, but it’s doable, regardless of how much you already do or don’t know about technology.

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