Then why are so many so distant from each other?
For all our technology, many families, friendships, workplaces and businesses are becoming increasingly fragmented due to the weight of responsibility, the amount of business, and sea of content that we are all drowning in.
The new problem, as far as I see it, is frequency. And we we have two kinds. The good kind, and the bad kind.
Bad frequency is content overload. We have too many frequent interactions with brain dead content: redundant tasks, superfluous paperwork, Digg-foder blog posts, the news channel repeating the same story 10 times an hour…
Bad frequency is a product of people being managed like they are parts in a factory. They are expected to stick to the rules (the process), even if they have developed a way to make things more efficient, because, well, ‘that’s the way its always been done’. A classic case of fear-mongering governance instead of trust-harbouring guidance. This creates a jobs-worth mentality, and a stifles initiative. Bad frequency also comes from an obsession over busyness without actually being effective or efficient. This denotes a lack of strategy – another thing missing from factory thinking. A factory is a place of tactics and operations, not a place of strategy. Bad frequency lacks initiate, new and creative thinking, and the leadership needed to guide someone towards good frequency.
Good frequency is regular contact over collaboration. It’s the daily phone call ‘just to see how things are going’, to see ‘if there’s anything new’, to ‘let you know what’s just happened’ – you know, the kind of talk that comes from passionate people when they are doing the things that they are passionate about. It is full of initiative, innovation, excitement, passion and vision. On the lower scale, it’s the place of dreams, and on the higher scale, the place where they fulfilled.
Good frequency is what happens when people are allowed to do what people do – develop. By lifting the restrictions and guiding people towards a vision, they take on ownership and naturally talk about it. In fact, they talk about it a lot. Social technology removes the problem of where you are and when you are, and lets word of mouth cross the world in seconds.
Distance doesn’t separate us anymore, frequency does.
Bad frequency will keep departments separated, business and client separated, writer and reader separated, effectiveness and efficiency separated, and people separated. We’re an island when we’ve got bad frequency, even if we’re sat in the same office full of people everyday.
Changing frequency isn’t something you pay for. It requires non-financial incentives that go to the centre of the heart, and deal with uncomfortable issues like disappointment, disconnection, discontentment, disbelief, and whole host of other words with the ‘dis-’ prefix.
Fortunately, humans love the light of trust-harbouring guidance when they’ve been cooped in the dungeon of fear-mongering governance. In fact, they thrive when even a glimmer of passion illuminates them – you can see it in our faces. If you give people just half-a-chance, and allow them to have ownership, you’ll be astounded by what they’ll do. Yes, you’ll need to guide them, but the momentum is coming from within.