The New Ball & Chain

“Should a [CEO] use a computer? … Are there jobs that are too important for the office holder to be spending the day deleting spam or closing pop-up windows in a browser? …

“It's a fair question to ask: Can someone who never touches a computer truly be in touch with what is happening in the world? The computer industry has worked very hard over the past few decades to cause us to suspect as much. But what about the opposite question: Does anyone who spends all day in front of a PC, forging a river of data posing as information, have any time to think?

“A group of technology reporters once received the CEO of a midsize, low-tech company eager to impress his listeners with his connectedness. He described his day as one long session checking emails and news alerts, save for the occasional interruption of a staff meeting or a sales call.

“All this was related with pride, as though it was what modern executives were doing. His listeners, though, were struck by how he seemed to have no time left in the day to think, which was surely why he had yet to realize that he was spending his day consuming the information version of junk food…

“A computer, far from making you more productive, instead loads you down with things to do, and it's important for the machine to know who is boss…

“For a [CEO], a computer can be a … distraction. Sure, he could spend five minutes reading an especially insightful blog post from one of his core constituencies. But it would be better for him to be spending the time having coffee with the person thinking the thoughts that the world will be blogging about a week or a month hence.

“With the world at his beck and call, a [CEO] is one of the few people lucky enough to be able to learn more off-line than he would chained to a keyboard.”

(“Technology; Portals: Note to Next President: Avoid Computers.” Lee Gomes. Wall Street Journal: July 30, 2008. pg. B.6)

LOOK 'EM IN THE EYE. Listen to them breathe. See them think. Hear their hearts beating. Get in touch. Connect.

Connected strategists turn off the workplace version of the boob tube, leave their offices behind, and listen, watch and connect on the shop floor and out in the field.

That's the real world; that's the real deal. There is real insight.

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