Page 19 - Mississippi 811 Magazine 2022 Issue 3
P. 19

Most Important: Technology
or People?
By Larry Cole, PhD. TeamMax
One of the more disappointing and frustrating experiences in my 30+ years as a consultant is the debate about which
is more important technology or the people side of a company. Yes they are both important to drive a successful business. But, let me ask you a few questions.
1. Who or what is ultimately responsible for generating the ideas to improve the technology we enjoy in the damage prevention business?
2. Who or what generates the ideas to work more safely?
3. Who or what generates the ideas to improve your business operations to improve the financial health of your company?
4. Who or what is the source of implementing the ideas to improve teamwork, employee engagement and excellent customer service in your company?
Yes, people. Now let’s look at additional facts.
Too many people think that selling
a product/service is the company’s money generator. Study the following illustration for a moment.
Employee Teamwork Sales Money • Money is the byproduct of the sell.
• Teamwork is required in order to make the sell.
• Individual employees decide to be a collaborative team member or not.
Individual employees begin the sales cycle so it’s profitable for each employee to be a high performer.
I’m not finished. Do you realize that the growth of your company is contingent upon the growth of your people? If your people are stuck in status quo so goes your company. And as Ray Kroc so famously put it — you’re either green or growing or you’re ripe and rooting! So what do you want your company to do?
The reality of ignoring people development gets worse! Change is a constant in this world. We completed a training survey in another industry and leading change efforts was identified
as a critical need across all sizes of
the participating companies. Here’s
the kicker. I’ve asked thousands of employees throughout my career to show me the energy systems inherent in the change process and I have yet to have one person to correctly identify these energy systems! Why? No one has taught them the tools to implement change. Now that’s crazy isn’t it? Expect someone to lead change without knowing which tools to use.
And, this change subject gets worse. Based on the multitude of companies with whom I’ve worked across
many industries, including damage prevention, the predominant strategy to implement change is to tell employees to discard the old to make way for the new. Then supervisors wonder why there is resistance to change. Duh! Who likes to be ordered around?
In spite of agreeing to the importance
of people, the ugly fact is there are
more development dollars spent on teaching people how to maximize the use of technology than investing in their most valuable asset — maximize people potential. Here’s how bad that ratio
can get. The survey participants told us that for every $1 spent on technical training 28¢ are spent on developing people while a whopping 66.3% reported not doing enough to develop their people.
I understand return on investment is more readily observed with technical training than it is when developing your employees’ talents. To begin with, holding people accountable to use the technical training is much, much easier than holding people accountable to
use the skill sets for positive resolution of differences of opinion, for example, vs. just letting conflict be the name of the game today. But that’s a story for another time.
Larry Cole, Ph.D., is founder of TeamMax a consulting company that helps people work together. Please send questions and/or comments to Larry at
2022, Issue 3 Mississippi 811 • 17

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