January is the month named after the Roman god, Janus. It is a time to look backwards and also forward. Janus guards the gates of time. So let’s begin a little thought experiment and just see where it might end.
Many years ago, I and most of the Montclair HS senior class took our senior trip to Disneyland. Yes, I know that today’s HS seniors plot trips to destinations oh-so-much farther from their homes and alma mater. I’ve heard students today travel to Disney World in Florida, France, or Japan. Many/most travel on their parents’ credit card. Some may even go eco-trekking along the real Amazon rather than pretending to ‘sail’ the Mississippi River from Tom Sawyer’s Island. But back in the day, our group was bound for the original Disney theme park in Anaheim, CA (http://disneyland.disney.go.com). The class was made up on all the usual suspects comprised of small cliques and random couples looking to get away from the teachers, guidance counselors, and volunteer chaperones (read: select parents who didn’t quite trust the liberal HS faculty or staff with keeping their children out of trouble).
The jocks went running toward the Matterhorn bobsled run. The science club members rocketed toward Space Mountain. The band and glee club were off looking for musical attractions found along Main Street USA. There were no cellular phones to help us connect or text our friends. We had to agreed upon a time and place to meet up so as to avoid being placed on a double dose of detention before graduation day. Well, you get the idea. Our world was small and our interests simple. In fact, to this day whenever I hear the lyrics to “It’s a small world.”; I’m reminded of that pleasant boat ride where I was sure no other group, classmate, or chaperone would find me with my date and girlfriend, Julie. Sorry, I digress. What’s my point? There were advantages to NOT being connected to your chaperones / overseers.
Years later, I was privileged to have the chance to serve 20 year in the US Army. Time and distance were measured in D+1, D+2, and D+3 days or by kilometers traveled and/or phase lines from the inter–zonal German border. Weekend passes and/or short periods of leave took me and my friends to Paris by train, skiing in the Swiss Alps by autobahn, to Venice by train and gondola, or to Norway by train, ferry boat, and bicycle. The cellular phones used then belonged to the more senior military commanders. They were the size of Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone, 9-1/2 EEE. (See also Gordon Gekko’s favorite gadget as seen here.)
Since then, economic time, the fall of the Iron Curtain, and two wars in the Middle East have changes things significantly. Young officers stationed in Germany today rotate from their ‘home station’ to deployments in and out of Iraq or Afghanistan. Today’s OPTEMPO has somehow been accelerated. Fighting today’s battle while preparing for tomorrows drive readiness. The application of John Boyd’ O-O-D-A Loop still applies to fighting and planning. (See: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/59/pilot.html) But where coordinating joint air attack team (JAAT) missions was once done transmitting brevity codes over tactical radio frequencies, now such missions are integrated over encrypted communication links, bounced off satellites, UAVs, and transmitted in nanoseconds. We’ve discovered that the world is a tinderbox (hot), it is flat (and shrinking), and crowded (technologically speaking with more and more nations having access to and exploiting today’s high-tech war-fighting capabilities).
Which brings us to today, peering into tomorrow. Some folks claim scores and even hundreds of ‘friends’ on Facebook. Others suggest they are ‘connected’ to hundreds or thousands via Linked In. Talent is discovered via “video resumes” posted on YouTube and/or “graphic resumes” posted at PREZI.com. It seems to this author that to ask participants to turn off their smart phones during a meeting; well, isn’t very smart. Today’s meeting participants are CYBORGS. (See: http://blog.ted.com/2011/01/11/we-are-all-cyborgs-now-amber-case-on-ted-com/) Some individuals are lost without their connection to cyberspace. If “this does not compute”, then Google “Jupiter 2” or search for “Jupiter 2” the next time you’re visiting YouTube.
So ask yourself the following questions – do you identify with A or B:
A) Do you feel lost in cyberspace?
B) R U a Cyborg?
… Of course there’s always an option “C.”
C) Consider hiring a old Cavalry Scout. Consider hiring a Certified Professional Facilitator who’s well versed in finding a navigable path ahead.
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