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Can You Stop the Phone Habit?

Clients often reach out to get a reaction, obtain two cents of input, or for a reality check. I received a link to an article, asking what I thought about the idea of using it as a springboard at a staff meeting, and some good ways to springboard into a discussion.

Read the article HERE

The timing was prescient – I’d been having discussions with people over the last few weeks on this very topic. You might be the defeatist (“I’ve given up; this is just how people behave now.”) or the martinet (“I don’t allow it.”). I try to manage technology in training programs and presentations and reluctantly acknowledge that it makes people unhappy but also admit that I see and hear what’s going on no matter how stealthily people think they are being and find it very distracting.

One participant told me that had she known she would not be able to text or send emails during training, she would not have attended the program. Another person wondered what the impact would be on the children who spend times with parents that always have the screen out and lit up, texting and talking away.

The author of the article, Sherry Turkle talks about the unintended consequences of the technologies to which we are vulnerable and advises us to approach our relationship with technology in the context that goes beyond it.

The staff meeting is a good place to have that conversation:

phoneWhat kind of culture do we want to have here?

Does having your screen out convey responsiveness to others and/or disrespect to those with who are in our presence or on the team?

What is the impact of technology on our meetings?

What core values does this tie into?

The article was sent ahead to staff and together, my client and I crafted a few sentence stems for meeting participants to finish at the start of the meeting.

My client later reported that everyone engaged in the resulting discussion. There appeared to be a range of tolerance for phone use in meetings (From “So people have demanding positions so I can see why they would bring along their phone,” to “Phones should never be brought to a meeting.”)

The outcome? The staff agreed to leave phones out of meetings. If an exception was needed, permission would need to be asked and the phone could be brought into the meeting (on vibrate). People acknowledged that it had become somewhat addictive behavior and that ‘lives were not being saved’ by not taking calls for the direction of the meeting.

My client was a bit surprised by the uniformity of agreement on the part of her entire staff but noted that not only did people think that was something they could do, it served as an empowering way for people to have an impact of the company culture.

Not so difficult to talk about and not so difficult to commit to doing.

What about at your company?


This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 20th, 2015 at 4:44 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.