From their new guide, The Future of the Digital Workplace comes this tidbit of wisdom on “fixing work”:
Email promised to improve on the failings of phones, fax machines, and snail mail when it rose to prominence in the 1990s. Slack, the workplace chat company, vowed in 2013 that its software would sweep away the irredeemable failings of email and usher in a happier, more productive age of work. And now the cycle has begun again; today, a new vanguard of startups is making a raft of promises to fix the dysfunction of Slack.
Perhaps the reason we haven’t found the perfect communication tool yet is that the problem isn’t about technology. Melissa Mazmanian, an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine with joint appointments in computer science and organization and management, offered an alternate theory. After years spent studying how workers use email, smartphones, and other forms of communication to signal our value at work, Mazmanian concluded the real root of our communication problems lies not in the tools themselves, but in workplace culture.
And the article continues as an interview where the author keeps asking how to implement new tools anyway. Brilliant.
Listen, without cultural support and active practice by the C-Suite, no amount of technology or tools will change a thing. Nary a dent. This notion also applies to digital transformation, design-driven innovation, and remote collaboration.
You’ll know when the culture is ready for something new when you have fixed all of your communication issues. That’s the real heart of any problem that technology alone can not solve.