Communication technology has become a blessing and a curse for American companies. In this Tough Things First podcast, Ray Zinn discusses the potential impact on creativity and innovation.
Rob Artigo: And welcome back to The Tough Things First podcast. I’m Rob Artigo. I’m a writer and business owner in California. Thanks for having me back Ray.
Ray Zinn: All right Rob, so good to have you back.
Rob Artigo: Ray, the dangers of isolation. I’m sure we’ve touched on this in many ways when we’ve discussed social media and texting and our faces down in phones. Get that crook in your neck from looking down at your phone all the time. Technology’s empowered us to communicate with everyone we work with, virtually at the same time. When we can send out a blast email, we can send out blast texts. Without even getting dressed in the morning I can telecommute for some of the work that do including doing this podcast and I am dressed but I don’t have to get dressed to do this. Despite FaceTime, we know that we get less face time usually with real people these days. Are we in danger of isolating ourselves in our business environments to the detriment of our creativity and innovation?
Ray Zinn: Sure. I have a number of examples. I have a friend here who recently quit his company because his boss never communicated with him except vis a vis email or texting. What was the straw that broke the camel’s back is that my friend had sent an important email off to his boss and never heard anything back. He pinged him on text and never heard anything back so then when the boss finally got back to him, it was for they wanted him to go to be trained in Cincinnati and for a particular new product they wanted to sell. My friend said, “No, no thanks.” And so he quit because the communication was so one way, as you would. When your head is in Facebook or in other social media, it’s one sided. It’s like watching TV. It’s not two sided. Sure, you could take pictures and videos and you can go back and forth but it’s not very personal.
You have like Skype available or FaceTime or Zoom or something like that, at least you see a person and there’s some connection. If there is no connection then I think you’re going to lose a lot. If there is a connection then I think you have a chance of being successful with that media. There are various ways to communicate, you don’t have to always be video, you can do it audio. Video just connects you better. That’s why I think some of these other contact sources like Skype and so forth, are good because you’re right there. You can communicate with each other as though you were sitting across from each other.
That’s what I did. My crowd, what I did is I would contact my employees all over the world. They were literally in different timezones in India and Germany and China and Japan and Korea. All over, they were all over the world and different timezones that it was just not possible for us on a pragmatic basis to communicate with them face to face. Literally in person. We set up a way to communicate using Skype. It was the source we used. And it was quite effective. Then we got together like every six months we would bring them here to the office and then we’d see face to face but was more of a group. We got the whole group together whereas when we’re just communicating one on one, it would be more like a FaceTime or Skype.
Rob Artigo: They say a picture tells a 1,000 words. It’s the old adage and I just figure that you mention taking a picture to communicate with somebody and if you have that capability but those 1,000 words that it may communicate may not be the true message that you intended because the person’s interpreting the image and so if you’re just emailing the same, and text is the same, it’s one dimensional. In other words, you could write one sentence that you think just communicates brief, quick statement of fact or whatever that you kind of expect the person to get the point. When they respond to that message you realize that they misinterpreted the intent of what you were saying.
Ray Zinn: Happens all the time. Happens all the time.
Rob Artigo: Happens all the time. It destroys relationships. It can destroy relationships.
Ray Zinn: That’s why I hate emails. I don’t like emails because they are so easily misinterpreted and they kind of as you said, are one sided. If you’re face to face in the sense of the word, of either on Zoom or Skype or FaceTime or something like that, you can at least, you’re seeing that person, their facial expressions and you can see if they’re misunderstanding what you’re saying.
Rob Artigo: You’ve got to have that multi-level of communication if you want it to matter because the first story you told about the guy who quit his job because he never had a chance to talk to his boss face to face, can be that that you just feel like since there is no connection, the person either doesn’t care about you, doesn’t care about what you’re doing and doesn’t care about your time and doesn’t think that what you’re doing or saying is valuable enough to even respond. It is a way of isolating. You’re isolating down to one form of communication that is not personal.
Ray Zinn: This one individual I’m speaking of, this friend of mine, never saw his boss ever. He never saw him visually on video or talked to him on the phone and he worked for him for over nine months and never had a personal contact with his boss and that bothered him to the point, he just said, “I’m leaving.”
Rob Artigo: I could imagine. I could imagine. It happened to me many times and sometimes I have regretted the words I’ve used because I didn’t couch some kind of emotion into the email so that there was that the intent emotionally was conveyed properly. Lot of regrets there. If you isolate you can tend to be a burden with your company, your employees and the people who work for. Also your creativity and innovation can suffer, right?
Ray Zinn: Exactly. And that’s what happens is that communication is so important to maintain harmony within organization. If you fail to communicate, you fail to negotiate with your people.
Rob Artigo: Words of wisdom Ray. Thank you very much for your time.
Ray Zinn: You’re welcome Rob. Thank you.
Rob Artigo: Find out more at toughthingsfirst.com, Tough Things First on Facebook and Tough Things First is available on Amazon. That’s the book that you can also get. The new book, The Zen of Zinn, it’s a fresh off the presses type of book that can really bolster your daily pursuits as well. Thanks again Ray.
Ray Zinn: You’re welcome Rob. Thanks for being with us.