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When does over-connected mean under-connected…?

Work today is 24/7. Devices that enable much-prized techno-connectivity mean we’re connected to our work like never before. It’s advertised glamorously as care-free young execs lolling on palm-fringed beaches, mobile in hand, laptop on towel, sipping a tropical cocktail. But is that likely to be the reality for most of us?

The Leadership Lounge - Forum for Queensland Public Sector Leaders

Leadership Lounge #82

Monday June 18, 2012

9.00 am - 12.00 noon


Queensland Police HQ...

Roma Street, Brisbane (opposite Roma St Transit Centre)

Guest Presenter:

Bill Cropper

Director, The Change Forum


Fee Free

RSVP  Leadership ConneXions

Connectivity – ‘cure and curse’

Many of us work longer hours now. Courtesy of ‘techno-connectivity’, work follows us home, no matter what time of the week because 24/7 workplaces operate round the clock. We’re never really off-duty and always on-call. Techno-connectivity benefits corporations and maybe aids doing jobs.

But it creates more stress, overworking, overloading, alienation and a loss of human connection time with family, friends, even work colleagues. Many are increasingly unable to physically or mentally get away from their jobs with 24/7 work responsibilities impacting health, personal, social and recreational life. Staff are drenched in data, valuable to business but the downside is being overwhelmed by vast amounts of information (much of it of dubious value) that cannot possibly all be absorbed or acted on.


Is technological over-connectivity in danger of killing off human connectivity?


Are we connected to or enslaved by, this kind of technology?


Can we evolve work and even neural structures to accommodate this kind of radical shift?

Techno-connectivity is making a major impact on the way we interact with colleagues, handle work-stress and pressure, re-configure relationships, handle family responsibilities and approach personal and recreation time. The digitilisation of workplaces and more broadly, society, is changing the human experience of work in radical ways with far-reaching ramifications for people, business operations, social health and perhaps even the neuronal networks that enable us to connect and socialise brain-wise.

Email, video-conferencing, virtual teams and addiction to social media do not constitute real face-time and ‘Facebook aphasia’ may be an emerging social and medical problem. Understanding techno-connectivity’s impacts on health, relationships, socialisation and wellbeing may be a pressing priority for ethical and caring organisations who say they value people and respect the need for work-life balance.


Will we be absorbed as components into the technological machine and lose the human element?


Will there be time to have real human moments where we make face-time connections?

In the light of this inevitable trend, the answer isn’t a resurgence of techno-Ludditism. Rather, it’s about avoiding exploitation by high-agility technology and working out ways to balance work with wellbeing, so that crucial techno-connectivity can be tempered with more socially intelligent design of work and jobs. [Read more here...]

At the June Leadership Lounge we discussed the challenges for today's leaders striving to maintain a performance edge to balance integration of technological advancements with the emotional significance of real human connectivity, and re-design work systems and jobs to reflect this.  Topics touched on included:


Impacts of Techno-connectivity


How it fits with Human connectivity


Dialling up dis-connections


Extreme jobs – the perilous paradigm


What happened to work-life balance?


Brain plasticity and rewiring


Balancing social & technological intent


Surfers or serfdom: the new work contract


Connectivity across work generations


Restoring balance: socially intelligent design


Bill Cropper, Director of The Change Forum has been helping organisations with teamwork-based design since the early 1990’s and has formative experience with socio-technical approaches to work redesign preceding that. For the last 10 years, he’s focused particularly on the social-emotional dimensions of work and leadership. He regularly runs public coaching clinics on topics like leading, working and teaching with emotional intelligence, compassionate leadership, social intelligence in teams, culture and connectivity.

This Lounge on the fit between ‘Techno-and-Human Connectivity’ emerged from the work Bill’s been doing in recent years on cultivating connective leadership and creating connective work cultures that balance technology advancements with the socio-emotional needs of workplaces to remain humane and continue to foster human potential, spirit, compassion and positive growth.


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