On the Limits of Technology

The technological tools available to us now are an amplification of the person who wields them. If you are a know-nothing, then the tools will amplify that deficiency. If you are a deep, consultative, trusted advisor, the tools will amplify that fact. The technological tools available to you do nothing to remedy a deficiency in insight, business acumen, or situational knowledge (the set of experiences that build the capacity to understand how to make decisions around certain challenges or opportunities).

Too many companies want to leverage technology to produce results that exceed technology’s abilities. Soon, we will have “greater than human intelligence” (AI), followed by “greater than greater than human intelligence” (this is what “greater than human” intelligence will design). Right now, there is no “greater than human caring,” and no one is working on that solution. There is no “greater than human leadership” or “greater than human morals.” What persists as a real competitive advantage are still the things that make us deeply human, things like the initiative that comes from caring, the resourcefulness that comes from the desire to make a real difference, and the trust that comes from an intimacy that is not present in technology. Some things aren’t easily automated, nor should they be.

Right now, there are people who are overly committed to the idea that the tools make the salesperson. They want to provide tools and training around the technology. It is easier to train someone the mechanics of using a technology than it is to teach them how to be someone worth doing business with in the first place. Many find the mechanics of technology easier to teach because it doesn’t require the difficult outcome of helping someone acquire the complex set of skills necessary to succeed in sales.

The tools never made the carpenter, nor did they make the mechanic. The typewriter never made the author, the camera never made the photographer, and the canvas never made the painter.

What you want isn’t going to be found in the technological tools of your trade. It’s going to be found somewhere else, and you are going to have to do the work if you want to possess it.

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