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Drawbacks Of Real-Time Information

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Real-time information has become just one more Holy Grail for organizations. Yes, it is important to get information quickly. However, getting too much information too quickly does not make for good decisions. There can be a big difference between acting quickly and acting wisely.

Joe Kennedy-father of John F. Kennedy-sold his stocks just before the great American stock market crash of 1929. What made him do it was a conversation about the market with a shoe shine boy. Kennedy figured that too many inexperienced people were investing in stocks.

Some seventy years later, I heard analysts state that it was day traders who would sustain the long stock market boom. To some analysts, these generally inexperienced day traders were good for the market.

The pitch to the day trader was that they could now get access to pretty much all the information the big investment houses had access to. This flow of real-time information contributed to a frenzy that drove markets to dizzy highs. It fueled crazy, unrealistic expectations.

SAP, a leading software company, thinks that the future manager’s office will look a lot like the pilot cabin of a plane. It will have wall-to-wall screens, with dynamic charts and figures fed in real-time. Hearing this reminded me of an ad I saw for a consultancy during the dot-com boom. It showed a plane with lots of engineers working on it as it flew. This is e-business, the ad intoned.

Let’s hope that the future of management is rosier than the current airline business. Any manager attempting to fix life critical equipment while its running should not simply be fired, but should end up in jail.

The analogy of fixing a plane while it is in flight is both dangerous and stupid. If this is e-business, then e-business is fundamentally flawed. There is always enough time to do things right. It is we who choose not to take that time.

How many of your decisions absolutely must be made this minute? How many of your decisions turn out better after you’ve slept on them? There’s no question speed is important in this information economy. So too is experience, judgment and wisdom.

For years, Cisco has been one of the most real-time organizations around. I heard a speaker boast about how Cisco produces its quarterly financial information a few hours after its quarter closes. That’s impressive. But Cisco got really badly caught out by the economic downturn.

The size of the human brain has not changed that much for thousands of years. The quantity of information the brain is exposed to has exploded. Real-time information is often short-term. It lacks perspective. Too much real-time information can smother our ability to think long-term.

Long-term still matters. You can’t solve the big problems by sending a text message. Companies don’t generally succeed or fail because of one midnight phone call. Success generally reflects years of hard work and good strategic thinking. Failure is rarely due to one event, but to years of mismanagement.

“The problems fundamental physics is facing right now very much require stepping back, sitting down and taking off the shoes and talking by the fire,” physicist, Carlo Rovelli, states. So too for many of the problems that business and the world faces.

For your web content management solution, contact Gerry McGovern http://www.gerrymcgovern.com

Subscribe to his New Thinking Newsletter: subscribe@gerrymcgovern.mailer1.net

Drawbacks Of Real-Time Information
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About Gerry McGovern
For your web content management solution, contact Gerry McGovern http://www.gerrymcgovern.com

Subscribe to his New Thinking Newsletter: subscribe@gerrymcgovern.mailer1.net WebProNews Writer
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