We seldom have the opportunity to make radical, even incremental changes to our personal operating systems. We each have tried and true ways of doing things, habits and routines that have become automatic and nonconscious. We recognize and reinforce the patterns of our lives because for the most part that works. Until it doesn't. When the patterns get interrupted, either by conscious intention or the invasion of the momentous outside world, we have the opportunity to do something different. Something better.
What paradigm are you shifting now?
The first Skype call I ever had was with Clifton Murray from the Tenors. He was half way through singing something when the video crashed. I never saw the end of the song. I had maybe five more Skype calls and something went wrong every time, and so I abandoned the experiment of adding video calls to enhance my coaching practice.
Opportunity windows open and close.
I'm lucky that my business works well remotely. When I started coaching in the 90s, one of my competitive advantages was doing everything in person. Coaching is an intimate and personal conversation and my clients seemed to prefer it as well. But since I work in both Toronto and Calgary, I'm now doing a lot more work on the phone.
Nowadays, everyone is on Zoom. Video seems to be a reasonable proxy for doing things live and person. What is might have lacked in security and privacy, it seems to have made up with convenience and reliability. These two attributes have lowered the friction on the adoption of their platform across the globe. Zoom is capitalizing on what might be a generational opportunity to expand the repertoire of human interactions.
The medium needs to fit the message.
Texting is often overused and misapplied. Texts are best for quick, easy and simple logistical communications like, "I'm going to be five minutes late" or "can you pick-up eggs on the way home." Anything more complicated requires email. People are still getting fired over text.
Email allows for richer contemplation. Emails are nonsimultaneous. You can make a thread that has history, that can be catalogued, flagged and saved. Voicemail adds a personal touch for a message that also requires some sort of reflection. Email is great for technical communication with a smaller number of recipients but horrible for giving any feedback that has any emotional content.
Tone is difficult to write even for professional writers. Better to pick up the phone and have a call or walk down the hall or get your ass to a Starbucks. It's OK to write out a script but better to confront the issue in person.
Slack and Teams are better for complex project communication with many facets and multiple threads involving multiple people. Sometimes a handwritten card conveys the message with the appropriate sentiment. Sometimes it's a blog post, a youtube video or one of the social platforms. But sometimes the best way is still live: a meeting, a lunch date, a townhall, a training session, a seminar.
Every medium has its time and place.
We are now all learning that NOT everything that was done live and in person has to be live and in person. New platforms like Zoom are evolving to fit a new niche we were forced to try. In certain settings a Zoom call is going to be the most effective and efficient way to connect, share and communicate an important message. It has its place. And like all other media, it's up to us to understand when to use it and when not to use it.
Sending a text is on one end of a continuum of communication options. Presentations to a live audience is the other. A speech by a seasoned speaker. A theatrical performance by gifted dancers or actors. An athletic contest between talented players. A concert with larger-than-life musical personalities. Being in a live audience and receiving the information that way is much different experience than getting a text or email or watching a youtube video on Facebook. I enjoy listening to U2 or Coldplay or the Tenors on my phone. But there is no replacement for getting lifted in the swell of pulsating humanity at a live event. Skype didn't deliver that. And zoom can't either.
As with everything thing in a rapidly changing society with an uncertain future...somethings will be worse and something will be better.
It's up to every leader to capitalize on the change.