Is Google making Poor Leaders?

9 Nov

A colleague sent me an article in Atlantic magazine entitled Is Google Making Us Stupid? Nicholas Carr argues that web-skimming is changing how we think and making it difficult for people to attain deep reading and thus deep thinking.  He notes that he can no longer read more than three pages without losing his attention, making long, complex material  inaccessible to him.  Citing anecdotal information from colleagues and early studies that show this to be the case, he wonders what will be the benefits and costs of this mental change. This is a long, intriguing article that requires both deep reading and thinking, so if you can get through it you are probably still OK.

Deep thinking is closely related to reflection and reflection is widely held to be an essential ingredient in leadership.  So, how much time do you spend each week in your head, deeply thinking about something for more than a few minutes?  If the answer is not much, then you may have developed an interesting barrier to leadership in your head.

Technology also encourages multi-tasking. Psychologists have clearly shown that people do one thing at a time and that multi-tasking is really just fast switching.  How many of you have experienced “flow,” that very high level of mental productivity when you mind seems to be operating at warp-speed?  Interesting observation, if you are always multi-tasking, then you can never get flow.

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