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But that's just me... Notes from the Editor

Friday, July 27, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kevin Berchelmann
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Are you a geek?

No, really... are you one of those techno-whizzes with all the newest computers, phones, tablets and gadgets, extolling the virtues of the über-connected world?

I'm not. Well, I'm sort of, but not completely. I have all the technology...all the cool gadgets and such. But I'm hardly an expert. Sometimes, though, people believe I'm an expert since I can do many things with my technology that they cannot.

They are assuming I know a lot about it. And you know what they say about assumptions...

Here's the deal: I know what I need to know, or have needed to know, to do the things I need to do. Got all that? In other words, I have none of the fancy trivia about various technology applications and such floating around in my cerebrum. If I know something about a specific technology, it's because I've needed to know it to get something done.

Now here's where you need to pay attention... consulting—even technology-centric consulting—is manual. It's personal. It's analog. But folks, this is 2012, and we're in a digital age now, like it or not. We, as consultants, must recognize, understand, and even embrace technology as a communications and information efficiency platform. We must.

I've heard consultants on various IMC conference calls bemoan their "lack of technical" skills, wanting forms sent to them (instead of downloading) and remarks transcribed, instead of linking to a url. To quote the immortal Bob Newhart...

Stop it!

We need to be comfortable and reasonably proficient in all means and manners of current communications and information-sharing technology. We have to understand how to send an email attachment too large for email; need to use and access related blogs and forums where information is routinely shared and disseminated, and we need to be at the front of technology—at least as a user, if not an implementer—instead of lagging back, using the same old and tired, "Yeah, I'm just not that computer literate."

Folks, that's just not ok anymore. It's lame, a cop-out, and just an excuse to be lazy.

I like the personal touch as much as anyone. In fact, I believe I oftentimes use it as a competitive advantage. I send handwritten note cards, I call more than I email. I meet and talk with people at breakfasts and lunches versus emailing. And I believe my relationships—both professional and personal—are better for it.

But I also have clients, colleagues, and friends who use technology as their most preferred—and most effective—mode of communications. And I respond in kind. I blog, tweet, and facebook. I manage my LinkedIn account, send an electronic newsletter, and subscribe to a multitude of RSS feeds and forums. I use Dropbox, carry a tablet for shorter trips, and have a smartphone roughly equivalent to the total computing power of NASA in 1969. My smokin' laptop syncs with my phone and tablet, and I can access every file I've ever created from my smartphone, at any time.

Why? Because at one time or another, I've needed this. So I learned it. I'm 53 years old, not exactly a teenager, and managed to get proficient enough to fake my way through a conversation with a technically-proficient GenY'er CEO. Not for flash, but for function. Necessary function.

I believe we, as management consultants, have the professional responsibility to embrace current era technology, at least enough for basic use and understanding. To do less is potentially short-changing our clients under the false cloak of "I'm just not that technical."

But that's just me...