TECHNOLOGY AND PEOPLE

TECHNOLOGY AND PEOPLE

Clearly recent technological change and those sure to come in near future, will produce significant change and opportunities in the years ahead. How should we be prepared for them?

People have different coping styles when it comes to technology. It has been suggested for instance that people react to changing technology in one of four ways. These ways are cynicism, naivete, frustration and proacativity.

CYNICISM

The cynic feels that for a manager least the idea of using of a microcomputer is overrated. Learning and using ot take too much time, time that could be delegated to someone else. Doing spreadsheets and word processing, according to the cynic ate tasks that managers should understand. However, the cynic feels that such tasks takes time away from a managers’s real job of developing plans and getting goals for the people being supervised.

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Cynic may express their doubts openly, especially if they are top managers. Or, they may only pretend to b interested in microcomputers, when actually they are not interested at all.

NAIVETE

Many naive people are unfamiliar with computers. They think computers are magic boxes capable of solving all kinds of problems that computers really can’t handle. On the other hand, some naive persons are quite familiar with computers, but underestimate the difficulty of changing computer systems or of generating certain in formation.

FRUSTRATION

The frustrated person may already be quite busy and may hate having to take time to learn about microcomputers. Such a person feels it is continual frustrated because they find manuals difficult to understand. In some cases, Poorly written manuals are at fault.

PRO-ACTIVITY

Webster’s collegiate dictionary defines proactive in part part as “acting in anticipation of future problem, needs or changes.” A proactive person realistic way. They are not cynics understanding the ability of the technology on their lives. They are not naive overestimating the ability of technology to solve the world’s or their problem.They do not easily get frustrated and give up using technology. Proactive people are positive in their outlook and look at new technology as providing new tools that when correctly applied can impact their lives,

Most of us fall into of these four categories. Cynicism, naivete, frustration and pro activity are common human responses to the change. Do you see yourself or others around you responding to technology in any of these ways? For those who respond negatively just being aware of their reaction can help them became more positive and proactive to tomorrow’s exciting change in technology.

HOW YOU CAN BE A WINNER

So far, we have described how progressive organization are using technology in the information age. Now let’s concentrate on you as an individual. How can you stay head ? Here are some ideas.

STAY CURRENT

Whatever their particular line of work, successful professionals keep up both own fields and with the times. We don’t mean you should try to become a computer expert and read a lot of technical magazines. Rather you should concentrate on your profession and learn how computer technology is being used within it.

Every field has trade journals, whether the field is interior design, personnel management, advertising, or whatever. Most such journals regularly present articles about the uses of computers. It’s important that you also belong to a trade or industry association and go to its meeting. Many associations sponsor seminars and conferences that describe the latest information and techniques.

Another way to stay current is by participating electronically with special-interest newsgroups on the internet.

MAINTAIN YOUR COMPUTER COMPETENCY

Actually, you should try to stay ahead of the technology. Books, journals, and trade associations are the best sources of information about new technology that applies to your field. The general business press – business week, fortune inc., the wall street journal, and the business section of your local newspaper—also carries computer- related articles.

However, if you wish, you can subscribe to a magazine that covers microcomputers and information more specifically. Examples are InfoWorld, PC world, and MacWorld. You may also find it useful to look at newspapers and magazines that cover the computer industry as a whole. An example of such a periodical is computer world. Most of these magazines also have an online version available on the web.

DEVELOP PROFESSIONAL CONTACTS

Besides being members of a professional association, successful people make it a point to maintain contact with others in their field. They stay in touch by telephone, e-mail, and newsgroups and got to lunch with others in their line of work. Doing this lets them learn what other firms are doing and what tasks are being automated. Developing professional contacts can keep you abreast not only of new information but also offers social benefits. An example of a professional organization found in many areas in a local association of realtors.

DEVELOP SPECIALITIES

Develop specific as well as general skills. You want to be well rounded within your field, but certainly not a “jack of all trades, master of none.” Master a trade or two within your profession. At the same time, don’t become identified with a specific technological skill that might very well become obsolete.

The best advice is to specialize to some extent. However, don’t make your specialty so tied to technology that you’ll be in trouble if the technology shifts. For example, if your career is in marketing or graphics design, it makes sense to learn about desktop publishing and web page design. In this way you can learn to make high quality, inexpensive graphics lay outs. It would not make as much sense for you to become an expert on, say, the various types of monitors used to display the graphics layouts, because such monitors are continually changing.

Expect to take classes during your working life to keep up with developments in your field. Some professions require more keeping up than others – a computer specialist, for example, compared to a human resources manager. Whatever the training required, always for ways to adopt and improve your skills to become more productive and marketable. There may be times when you are temped to start all over again and learn completely new skills. However, a better course of action may be to use emerging technology to improve your present base of skills. This way you can build on your current strong points and then branch out to other fields from a position of strength.

BE ALERT FOR ORGAINSATIONAL CHANGE

Every organization has formal lines of communication – for example, supervisor to middle manager to top manager. However, there is also the grapevine – informal line of communication. Some service departments will serve many layers of management and be abreast of the news on all levels. For instance, the art director for advertising may be aware of several aspects of a companywide marketing campaign. Secretaries and administrative assistants know what is going on in more than one area.

Being part of office grapevine can alert you to important changes – for instance, new job openings – that can benefit you. However, you always have to assess the validity of what you hear on the grapevine. Moreover, it’s not advisable to be a contributor to office gossip. Behind-the-back critics of other people have a way of getting back to the person criticized.

Be especially alert for new trends within the organization – about future hiring, layoffs, automation, mergers with other companies, and the like. Notice which areas are receiving the greatest attention from top management. One tip-off is to see what kind of outside consultants are being brought in. independent consultants are usually invited in because a company believes in needs advice in an area with which it has insufficient experience.

LOOK FOR INNOVATIVE OPPERTUNITIES

You may understand your job better than anyone – even if you’ve only been there few months. Look for ways to make it more efficient. How can present procedures be automated? How can new technology make your tasks easier? Discuss your idea with your supervisor, the training director, or the head of the information systems department. Or discuss them with someone else who can see that you get the recognition you deserve. (co-workers may or may not be receptive and may or may not try to take credit themselves.)

A good approach is to present your ideas in terms of saving money rather than “improving information.” Managers are generally more impressed with ideas that can save dollars than with ideas that seem like potential break-thoughts in the quality of decisions.

In general, it’s best to concentrate on the business and organizational problems that need solving. Then look for a technological may of solving way of solving them. That is, avoid becoming too enthusiastic abut a particular technology and then trying to make it fit work situation.

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