Survival Scanning – When to Stop

| July 12, 2013 | 0 Comments

We live in a world that has raised the art of scanning to new heights. It has virtually become a habit of survival. We scan our emails, text messages, forms, documents, articles and anything else that we put in front of our face. We do not process the information in its entirety – it is  impossible, there is simply too much of it. Instead, we assess whether or not it requires action or if it in some way has a direct impact on us. Once those filters are in place we quickly decided to ‘delete’ or ‘save’ and move on to the next. Most often we delete. These efficient habits, notice I did not use the word effective, have migrated into how we relate with people.

ScanningSeveral decades ago, the practice of ‘Management by Walking Around’ (MBWA) was popularized by Tom Peters’ book In Search of Excellence. The concept, which has considerable value, is to get up from your desk and walk around, visiting with your employees and engaging in a conversation about their work. The key of course is to actually engage – listen, consider, ask questions. The act of scanning has the potential of contaminating this worthwhile endeavor to the level of an item on our To Do List.

“It’s Tuesday, time for my Walk Around. I’ll do it on my way to get a second cup of coffee. I passed by 14 cubes and three bull pins, said hello to almost every one and asked how things were going. Also asked if there was anything they needed. Back at my desk in 15 minutes with a fresh cup of coffee.  Everyone seems fine, no issues. This isn’t so bad!” That was scanning – that was not connecting, that was not engaging, that was not building a relationship with an employee so that they are willing to tell you the truth, willing to go the extra mile for you and the company.

Scanning most assuredly has its place, but not in the development of relationships. Every tool has value when used for the purpose in which it is intended. I would suggest that we take a moment to consider if we have over-used or miss-used the tool of scanning, especially in our relationships, hence ignoring valuable information that is just below the surface.


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Category: Blog, Leadership, Recognition


About the Author ()

Julia Hill-Nichols, SPHR, is the founder of LeadersCove, LLC. With over 30 years experience in operations and human capital management, Julia is gifted in the art and science of bridging strategic imperatives and a company’s human capabilities—executing for success, meeting bottom-line objectives and enlivening the people who are the organization’s lifeblood.

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