Ben Walker reports from the Drucker Forum in Vienna
Distraction has become a “huge force in the world” that is wasting business time, damaging productivity – and reducing leaders’ abilities to build communities.
That is the withering analysis of eminent global management expert Henry Mintzberg.
Mintzberg used the 7th Global Drucker Forum in Vienna to attack the distraction culture. Technology has led to ever more sophisticated ways to interrupt people from tasks, which is counterproductive, a panel at the Forum this morning heard.
“Distraction is a huge force in the world today,” Mintzberg told the panel. “It is driving us nuts and doing us lots of harm.”
He added that the rise of digital communication had reduced our ability as humans to build communities. “Every single new technology has moved us further away from community,” he said. “And that is very dangerous.”
Mintzberg was challenged by an audience member from the digital industries, who said that the proliferation of digital messaging products had actually helped build communities. The delegate said her grandmother was able to stay in touch with her worldwide family in ways that she would never have been able to do before.
“The difference there is that your family already knows each other,” Mintzberg said. Human contact was necessary in the first place to build that family community he added. “If you want to know the difference between a network and a community, try asking your Facebook friends to paint your house.”