Hello to All,
Success hinges on how well we can work in groups. CEOs recognize
that teams are more productive, creative and valuable than
individual workersas long as team members work cohesively.
This month we explore a new era of relationships.
| A New Era of Relationships
Human interactions rule our lives. In a world where technological
advances increasingly provide solutions and perform jobs, our social
skills can increase or diminish our value.
But most of usprofessionals, employees and managers alikeundervalue
our social skills. This is not an option in an era of dwindling job
Success hinges on how well we can work in groups. CEOs recognize that
teams are more productive, creative and valuable than individual workersas
long as team members work cohesively.
There's a growing demand for relationship workers: people who are
socially astute, no matter the field. As neuroscientist Michael
S. Gazzaniga aptly states:
|"Natural selection mandated us to be in groups in order
to survive...that is how we are built. Without our alliances
and coalitions we die. It was true...for early humans. It is
still true for us."
Most of us assume our jobs cannot be taken over by a computer, but
history and technological advances prove us wrong. There are few skills
computers cannot eventually acquire. Computing power doubles every
two years, so more tasks can—and will—be handled by sophisticated
algorithms, notes Fortune Magazine Senior Editor Geoff Colvin
in Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant
Machines Never Will (Portfolio, 2015).
| The Critical Need for Teams
CEOs are turning to teams to solve increasingly intricate problems.
The most effective groups include people with strong social skills.
Wanting to work with other people is one of the healthier aspects
of human nature. We rely on human interactions to:
Even if a computer spits out the right words and makes the right
decisions, we want to follow human leaders. We need to look into someone's
- Tell our stories and hear others' stories
- Brainstorm new ideas and create new products/services
- Share our feelings and learn to appreciate other points of
- Connect on a deeply human level through our physical senses
- Form coalitions and alliances
- Negotiate agreements
| What We Don't Want Computers to
We must first identify the skills we want other humans
to perform, regardless of a computer's prowess. Most of these tasks
involve projects or areas for which people are held accountable.
For example, computers have shown they're superior to juries when
evaluating criminal evidence. But there's a social necessity for
humans to be accountable for life-and-death decisions.
Humans are also critical to organizational life because priorities
continually shift. It takes a human touch to redefine problems and
| Priority Skills for the Future
The Towers Watson consulting firm and Oxford Economics research
firm asked employers which skills they'll need most over the next
five years. Employers' top priorities include:
These are right-brain social skills. It's important to note that
survey respondents did not cite business acumen, analysis or other
left-brain thinking skills.
- Co-creativity and brainstorming
- Cultural sensitivity and diversity management
Those who will be hired, retained and capable of flourishing in almost
all professions are the ones skilled at forming emotional bonds, persuading
others and making judgments.
| How Technology Is Changing Us
We tend to over-rely on tech tools to communicate quickly and efficiently.
We text or email instead of calling or meeting face-to-face. This
does, indeed, save time, but it's impossible for us to pick up on
If you cannot face another person, you're deprived of noticing facial
expressions, as well as subtle shifts in vocal tone, eye movement,
posture, physical distance and other social signals. Spotting these
cues quickly is crucial to responding appropriately.
In one social experiment, scientists gathered a group of sixth-graders
in a camp for five days, without any screen access: no computers,
tablets, cellphones, music players, games or TV. They wanted to measure
the children's ability to recognize nonverbal emotional cues in others.
After five days of solely face-to-face interaction, the students had
become far more emotionally insightful.
American adults (ages 16 to 45) with access to at least two devices
report 7.5 hours of screen time daily. Indonesians spend 9 hours a
day and Filipinos just a few minutes less, so this is not an affluence-related
phenomenon. Imagine what this does to our social sensitivity.
| Nothing Beats Face-to-Face Contact
With digital communication, the quality of real human connection is
weak. When two people talk face-to-face, their brains synchronize.
This doesn't happen when they're back-to-back, so our faces are vital
communication tools. Video communication provides only weak synchronization.
Reading one another and conversational turn-taking determine how well
a group performs a wide range of tasks. Teams that have met face-to-face
at least once can thereafter work well virtually. Greater challenges
occur with teams who have never met in person.
| Our Most Crucial Human Skill
Empathy is the foundation for sociability. At its core, it's the ability
to discern what another person is thinking and feeling, as well as
Employing highly empathic workers has numerous advantages, including
better customer relations, team cohesiveness and a more positive working
environment. Research confirms:
Each of us can learn to recognize the social signals we produce and
perceive. We have innate empathic skills, but they weaken if we don't
- Empathic salespeople and negotiators are more successful.
- Waiters who display empathy earn nearly 20 percent more in tips.
- Debt collectors with empathy skills recover twice as much money.
- Empathic doctors make more accurate diagnoses and fewer errors,
incur lower costs and are sued less.
Thanks for all the referrals. I really do appreciate your support. We are closing in on the end of the first quarter and I trust you are happy with the results you are accomplishing. Keep up the good work and have a great month.
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