Are you losing your focus?

Ditch the digital communication and get back to basics with communicating in person.


No matter where you go these days, more and more people are preoccupied with some type of electronic device or another.

I can understand using an electronic device to turn downtime into productive time. Say using a smart phone to catch up on e-mails or working on an iPad to finish an expense report while waiting for a delayed flight.

What I cannot fathom is using electronic devices during religious worship, during time with family, while in the bathroom (really?) and during training and business meetings.

The use of electronic devices has become standard operating procedure - anywhere, anytime. Seems to me, electronic device use is the latest addiction.

Attention Split

I get it that technologies such as smart phones and tablets can help us maximize our efficiency by getting things done in parallel.

However, despite what many people believe - especially those that constantly use electronic devices, the fact is that splitting attention between two tasks is something most of us simply don’t do well.

“A core limitation [of the brain] is an inability to concentrate on two things at once,” says René Marois, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University, and head of the school’s Human Information Processing Laboratory.

The biggest problem with multitasking is that it can lower the quality of our work. When most people try to do two or more things at once, the result is that everything is done less well than if each task was focused properly on in turn.

The more complex or technical the tasks we’re switching between, the greater the likelihood of a drop in the quality of the task.

“Multitasking is going to slow you down, increasing the chances of mistakes,” says David E. Meyer, a cognitive scientist and director of the University of Michigan’s Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory. “Disruptions and interruptions are a bad deal from the standpoint of our ability to process information.”

Good work takes time and patience.

Lost Relationships

I am very troubled by the loss of personal relationships as we become more and more connected with customers, fellow workers, business people and others electronically rather than in person.

Nowadays, there is much less interaction and physical dialogue and more abbreviated, non-emotional digital communication, which typically comes with poor writing, spelling and grammar.

Good communication skills affect how people perceive others.

Non-Electronic Opportunities

I see opportunities that can be capitalized on by using the non-electronic Kolman B-T-B (Build-The-Bond). This is a technique for establishing and maintaining good personal relationships with others that is based on human nature, which makes us want to deal with friends rather than strangers.

The Kolman B-T-B is about getting well-acquainted with others, not just as businesspeople, suppliers, workers, customers, etc., but as individuals, and showing genuine or personal interest.

It’s about getting connected in person rather than through the more impersonal digital way.

Perhaps you have forgotten about the considerable information we learn about others from their body language and voice inflection when we speak with them face-to-face.

The B-T-B technique is also about letting others know - with a personal phone call or handwritten note - that you appreciate their business, their efforts and them.

Do you recall the last time you received a thank-you note by snail mail that was actually written and signed by an individual. It made you feel special, didn’t it?

Critical Element

Regardless of advancing technology, I am convinced that human interaction and relationships will always be a critical element in any industry.

In our industry, your “customers” have expensive, complex vehicles and equipment, and they need to keep them operating with minimal downtime.

Given the choice, I would bet the farm that they would prefer to deal with a knowledgeable maintenance manager who will become, not just their “business partner,” but a friend who genuinely cares about them and their operation, and will be there with them for the long run, providing thoughtful guidance and advice.

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