Virtually anything that can be productive can also be destructive. Whether it’s a car, a knife, or a credit card, these “tools” can help or hurt people.
This principle also applies to technology. It has given ministries the opportunity to multiply exponentially and has made the bible accessible to billions.
But technology also has a dark side.
Not only has it created opportunities for sexual predators, pornography and scam artists, but technology has reduced our attention span, made us less focused and often takes the place of healthy social interactions. This combination can be disastrous for your team.
Following the “Ten Commandments of Technology” will not only help you combat the negative effects of technology, but you’ll develop a healthier and more productive culture in the process.
1. Thou shalt not use e-mail to deliver bad news.
E-mail is great for relaying information but terrible for confrontation. It doesn’t give the receiver a chance to read your facial expressions, see your body language, or hear your tone. There is no chance in the moment for response or dialogue and no opportunity for clarification.
Quite simply, delivering bad or complicated news via e-mail is the coward’s way out. We dishonor and devalue people when we fire off harsh e-mails like Scud missiles. In a healthy culture, people take the time to sit down and have hard conversations in person.
2. Thou shalt not put anything in e-mail that you would mind having forwarded . . . because it probably will be.
I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. Several times I’ve had an e-mail forwarded to people I would not have wanted to receive it. So, when an e-mail deals with anything delicate, I’m learning to ask myself, “Will I mind if this gets forwarded?”
3. Thou shalt not e-mail or text or social media during meetings.
This was one of the team rules at Saddleback. It’s such a temptation to multi-task in a meeting, but the result is we disengage. This is the antithesis of “team.”
4. Thou shalt not use “bcc.”
Most often, “blind carbon copy” is used to secretly include people in the e-mail without the recipient knowing it. No good thing comes from blind-copying people on your e-mails. While it might have an appropriate use or two, the potential risks and negatives simply don’t make it worth using.
5. Thou shalt be more personal than professional.
By its very nature, e-mail tends to come across as impersonal. Therefore, we have to work hard to come across as warm and personal. Make your e-mails more relational and less transactional – begin with a warm opening line, add a bit of humor or connect to something personal. It takes a few extra seconds, but communicating as a friend goes a long way in building trust in your work relationships.
(Commandments 6-10 coming next week!)
Which commandment does your team need to work on the most?