There were three of us in the meeting that morning. The young woman executive in her early thirties, who had invited her second in command in his mid-20’s, and myself, white haired and nearly mid-50. We were all sitting around her desk, working on the agenda for an upcoming retreat which was being displayed on her computer screen. Earlier in the meeting, I had commented that the opening remarks for the upcoming retreat needed to be more specific, particularly about why we were gathering and why it was worth the time to do this. After a brief discussion, the remarks were improved and made much better.
Then, we came to the next part of the retreat which was a discussion about the goals for the rest of this fiscal year and the possible goals for the coming fiscal year. I remarked that they were not really SMART goals and thus needed to be sharper in focus in order to be more actionable. The woman executive then turned to her #2 and discussed one of the goals in question. Listening carefully, I inquired about one specific aspect of this goal.
Her response to my question was “I’m not certain. Let me check.”
This is a normal response, and her action for checking was to start typing on her computer. Nothing unusual about this. Given we were all looking at her computer screen, I watched as she sought the answer about a company related goal. And here is when it got interesting!
Step #1 - log in to her personal Facebook account.
Step #2 - search Facebook for the company Facebook page.
Step #3 - scroll through the company Facebook page, comment on how few friends it has and discuss this with her #2 person, and then find the information.
Step #4 - log out of Facebook and input the correct information into the goal setting section of the agenda.
As this all transpired, I noted that there was no attempt to use the company intra-net, Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine. Facebook was the preferred method for finding the correct information.
My internal response was WOW! That was interesting.
Not too may years ago, during a session of the From Vision to Action Leadership Training, I observed a young person solve a team based, problem solving exercise by using his smart phone to Google the answer rather than interact with the team. At that time, my internal response was the same - WOW! That was interesting.
Now, using a Blackberry, iPhone, Android, etc. to solve a problem during a meeting is normal. A matter of fact I would be surprised if someone did not use their phone during a meeting. Please note that I hope they are not just reading their e-mail or playing a game.
Still, to witness a young executive use Facebook as the preferred way to solve a problem was very interesting and very thought-provoking. If this is the upcoming new normal, then many people are going to experience a lot of change. For example, the Chief Information Officer and the Chief Marketing Officer could be sitting around the senior management table with the Chief Facebook Officer. Next, there could be a dedicated team of people to monitor, respond and update the company Facebook page, and maybe even do the same for the Facebook pages of senior management. The historical line between what is work and what is home may never be the same again.
As for now, it sure was an interesting experience and something worth thinking about over the the coming weeks and months.
Geery Howe, M.A.Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer inLeadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational ChangeMorning Star Associates319 - 643 - 2257