Virtually anything that can be productive can also be destructive, and this is certainly true for technology. Computers, the internet and smart phones have opened up a world of opportunity for us and the advancement of the Gospel, but technology also has a dark side.
Last week I shared 1-5 of The Ten Commandments of Technology and Teamwork.
Here are the final five.
6. Thou shalt keep e-mails short and to the point.
I know there’s occasionally a need for a longer e-mail. But as a general rule, keep it simple and straightforward. With the inundation of information today, people have to filter and sort quickly. Be concise and remove the clutter. In communication, always choose clear over cute.
7. Thou shalt not text or take calls while in conversation or in a meeting.
I am amazed how many conversations I’m in where the other person will respond to a text right in the middle of our interaction. Interrupting a conversation to take a call is devaluing; that’s why they invented voicemail. It is the rare occasion when I must take a call right this moment. And, if you must take a call while talking to someone else, explain why you need to interrupt the conversation and apologize for having to do so.
8. Thou shalt not call or e-mail people on their day off.
If we’re going to create healthy teams, we must begin to work harder at creating margin in people’s lives. One way to do so is to honor their time at home with their family and honor their day off as their Sabbath.
We should be proactive to communicate with our team that we want them to live healthy, balanced lives. And, they are not expected to answer e-mails or phone calls when they’re off or at home with their family.
9. Thou shalt use e-mail for prayer and encouragement.
Most of these commandments are “thou shalt not,” but this one is “thou shalt.” E-mail, texting and social media are wonderful tools for prayer and encouragement. In a matter of seconds I can send a message that says “you matter; you are on my mind.” And I can use e-mail and texting to write out a simple prayer on behalf of someone I care about.
10. Thou shalt give phone/e-mail/social media/screens a Sabbath.
Part of developing a healthy team means developing a healthy rhythm personally. I encourage you to talk with your team about having a technology Sabbath where you literally and symbolically unplug for a day. Imagine what it could be like if for twenty-four hours you had live (instead of virtual) conversations. If you played with your kids instead of your phone. If you responded to your spouse instead of your e-mail.
Healthy teams hold each other accountable to good practices and positive interactions that build trust and enhance productivity. Take time in your next team meeting to discuss these ideas and decide which ones you need to adopt together. Let me know what you decide!