I’m having a problem. I keep running into people who just don’t have time to adopt new technology innovations like social media. I recall years past when I was selling the idea of preventative maintenance systems to plant maintenance managers. Often they would listen to my pitch then say something like, “Well that all sounds good except I’m just too busy putting out fires every day to find time for implementing a PM system.” I can’t count how often I’ve heard those words. To their way of thinking it was simply a catch 22 situation where there’s no time to prevent future fires while today’s fires are burning. But then sometimes I would come across a plant maintenance manager who whole heartily adopted a PM strategy and system. Faced with the same daily fires they somehow found the time and energy to adopt the new technology and often came out looking like heroes as a result. I have often asked these “hero” maintenance managers how they found the time to adopt and implement PM and the answer I heard most often was “I didn’t have the time NOT to adopt a PM program.” How can this completely opposite viewpoint be explained? And it’s not that the managers who couldn’t imagine having time to adopt new ways of working and managing were lazy. Most were very hard working and put in far more than 40 hours each week just trying to keep their heads above water. I can understand why the idea of piling something else onto their plate seemed insane from that perspective. But then how to explain the maintenance managers who had the opposite view, successfully adopted the new PM system and revolutionized how their organization operated?
Today I run into managers who when faced with the idea of adopting social media will say, “I’m just too busy to pile even more work on top of what I’m already doing.” And they really are busy emailing, sending out revisions of attachments via email, going to meetings, and returning phone calls to even think about piling on even more responsibility with Twitter or Facebook or a blog. The problem I think is they can’t imagine how social media will reduce and in some cases eliminate their old style of communication and collaboration. In their mind the new technologies will simply pile more work on top of their current load. It’s funny how the same patterns of behavior and thinking just keep cycling round and round no matter the endeavor.