It was about 3.00 in the afternoon one Tuesday recently and I was walking along a pathway that runs adjacent to a narrow slip road that leads to our local shopping centre. As I looked over towards the entrance I saw a schoolgirl in uniform probably in her mid-teens walking brusquely towards the pedestrian crossing which was about 20 meters ahead of me and I could see she was fully engrossed in her phone.
Just then, a car doing about 20mph passed me heading for the same pedestrian crossing and I could see that the driver had their phone open and on the steering wheel. It all happened in a split second as both the schoolgirl and the car came onto the pedestrian crossing together and then it was over in the blink of an eye, the driver went through the crossing unaware that there was a pedestrian on it and the school girl walked across without lifting her head, oblivious to the car. The girl was connected to her virtual world but was disconnected to the present world and how close she came to serious injury or possibly death and the consequences it might have on her, her family and close friends. The driver was connected to someone in her virtual world but disconnected to what had just happened. She was totally oblivious to how close she came to injuring and perhaps even killing an innocent child on a pedestrian crossing and the long term consequences that it might have on her life, the lives of those around her and the lives of that girl and her family.
This was potentially a life and death situation and thankfully no one was hurt. We experience similar behaviour in business like this every day where you see employees engaged in social media, engaged in their world while customers are ignored and left to make the obvious choice, go elsewhere. Nobody is going to die or be seriously injured but there could be repercussions for everyone in the organisation. What happens if sales are decline and the business is in free fall, people lose jobs, homes and possibly relationships. Sadly, it is all preventable but people at all level of the organisation are too busy to notice the big picture.
The evidence is all around but the distractions of the modern world takes precedence over the important and inertia does the rest.
How ‘present’ are your employees at all levels of the organisation? Are they tuned into your customer needs or are they tuned into their personal ‘Social Media’? Take a little time out and look around you and observe what is happening, you may be surprised.
If you have time here is an article on Distractions in the Workplace
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