This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Empathy---Critical
in Normal 2.0

 

  The Herman Trend Alert

July 11, 2001

It's Not Just Kid Stuff Anymore

Many young people spend considerable time conversing through Instant Messenger, whether using AOL, Yahoo, or ICQ. Relating with friends and acquaintances near and far over the Internet is fun. Now some corporations use the channel for doing business and find that it's faster than using cell phones and MUCH less frustrating. (We don't know about you, but we're fed up with the challenges of getting cell phones to work in many places in the country.)

That's why Loyd Ivey, CEO and chairman of the Mitek Corporation, a manufacturer of commercial audio products, uses remote instant messaging to keep in constant touch with his plants. Ivey, who is also a vice-chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association is even acquiring the service for his key sales people. "I don't use my cellular anymore--too slow," says Ivey.

Yes, our society is speeding up. The speed at which business moved in the past simply won't do for our new, "improved," instant corporate culture. We demand to be "in touch" all the time and some of us even feel isolated when we cannot be in total communication. There's a whole movement of people who are "unplugging" (See Trend Alert of May 9, 2001), choosing to disconnect for peace and serenity, among other things.)

But do not expect the corporate world to be particularly understanding in the years ahead. More companies are asking their workers to carry pagers, cell phone, and PDAs with the purpose of being available 24/7. This high level of availability is in serious conflict with workers' increasing desire for life balance. As these divergent philosophies settle out, we will see increased efficiency at work supporting the ability to stop work, so people can enjoy their personal lives.

The speed of communication through instant messaging will enable companies to operate more smaller facilities in scattered locations. Employees will know each other better in each facility and through constant, quick communication will share a similar relationship with people in far-flung locales. Corporate leaders, like Ivey, will now have more real-time opportunities to influence the company's culture.


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