Skill Assessment: Up Your Technology IQ with a Few Ps
The PLI Essential Essential of Skill Assessment is about knowing who you are, making the most of what you've got and getting better at interfacing with the world. It amazes me when I hear leaders complain about how technology is making their life more difficult. That is like someone in the 1920s complaining about the automobile or someone in the 1970s complaining about the telefax. It's not the car or the fax machines or the technology that hinders production. It is the willingness (or lack thereof) to learn something new. This is, of course, because learning something new after the age of twenty-one is extremely time consuming and energy dependent. It is hard work.
If your purpose for reading this blog is to become a better, more effective leader and you complain about all the technology around you that you don't understand, stop complaining and..
Pause - When you find yourself in a technology situation that you can't figure out, stop what you are doing and make time to learn something new. It only takes two-minutes to learn how to save that number in your phone. Plus, if you save it once, you never have to save it again. If you choose not to learn how to save it, you are wasting thousands of seconds having to look it up every single time you need it.
Peruse - Everything comes with a manual for a reason. Google is Google because it has answers to your questions. Whatever challenge you are having with your technology, the answer is written down somewhere. Find it. Learn it. Plus, once you learn it, you can forget it over time, but you can never un-learn it. You will then own that information and your Technology IQ will go up.
Practice - After you find the answer to your challenge, fix it right then and try it on a couple of times. Then the next time the challenge comes up, fix it again. Pretty soon, you will either stop having the challenge or you will be able to fix it quickly. It is amazing how tangible and relevant a person's technology IQ is to their personal and professional life. For some people, it is more important than their social IQ. (And you can immediate spot the difference! I.e. - unless you are a leader in a black hole, don't sacrifice your social IQ or your emotional IQ for your technology IQ.)
Praise - Become a proponent of technology. Talk up about it. Most people who are thinking up technological designs and components are doing so to make your life easier, more efficient, more entertaining and/or all the above. Be an Expert Leader and encourage the process.
PS - Here are three cool Internet sites you will find useful and/or interesting and that you will want to share with your friends and peers. (To show them how technologically cool you are!)
Photosynth.net - Microsoft's Live Lab's newest venture. It takes photo sharing and viewing to the next level. On the home page in the top right-hand corner, type in Laubach in the search engine to see a few "synths" I have tried. I plan on using this site over at my speaking skills blog to teach people training and keynote room set-up.
Pando.com - A simple, easy way to send up to 1 GB of data to someone. We use it all the time to "email" pictures of the girls to the grandparents without having to clog up our email servers with megabytes worth of photo data. We also use it to send our Leap Show (which is a 30 MB PowerPoint file) to people who buy it.
Pandora.com - An outstanding way to discover new music. I love my iTunes and my iPods, but sometimes I want to listen to something I have never listened to before, but that is fairly similar to what I like.
Enjoy and have a great holiday weekend!