Is Technology Adding or Reducing Your Productivity?

For the last 20 years, I have been working, operating, acquiring, consulting and evaluating business and have determined that over 80% of the companies or offices I have seen do not leverage technology. In fact, I would say that in most cases technology is actually reducing and limiting their effectiveness.

There are many reasons for this phenomenon, many are specific to each individual business but there are several common factors and solutions that all businesses should consider and take action on to begin the process of leveraging technology to its fullest:

First, in Game Plan I suggest that you only use technology to improve or enhance your company or process. So the first question is just that. Does this current or future technology improve or enhance our process? In 9 out of 10 cases, the existing software or machine will do the job if the operator uses the machine to its fullest potential.

Second, I would ask you to consider what I call the “telephone game” training phenomenon which is caused by training one person to use a device who then trains the next person who trains the next person, and before you know it seven or eight of the critical steps in the process are lost – just like what happened to the story that was passed from person to person in the “telephone game” you played in school as a kid. I urge you to add technology, computer usage, and software best practices to your training programs. There are all kinds of resources on the web and many of them are free.

Next, I would consider having yourself or someone on your staff become the technology evangelist, making it this person’s mission to push the existing technology to the limit. By inspecting your expectations, you will find that most of your staff is in their “comfort zone” and not using the technology as intended or to its fullest potential. The technology evangelist needs to coach and encourage the best usage. Most companies have a closet “techno-geek” that would love taking on this task.

Last, I would have you consider joining user groups for your software, touring other businesses to see what technology they are using that might benefit your business, surfing the web for ideas, and subscribing to trade journals or periodicals that pertain to technology or technology in your specific industry. For insurance I like Steve Anderson’s web site and his monthly magazine called the The Anderson Agency Report. Ask your friends at your local chamber or networking functions and see what they are doing and take notes!

Technology is supposed to help drive your company to new heights, but in most cases we buy equipment and software that is hardly used. Don’t be intimidated – start embracing technology today and start with the small stuff. You can start by using free templates from Microsoft® for all of their products. “Google” what you are thinking or struggling with, and millions of results will provide you with a good basis to make decisions for your business. I try and learn something new every week. There are cool things always popping up. In fact, I just learned that I can create a map on my computer and send in to the Navigation system on my car! Take your blinders off and look at what this stuff can do for you!

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