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Afterword > Press the Flesh

Press the Flesh

Surprisingly, in technology-driven borderless companies, personal touch has become more critical than ever. One of the least appreciated effects of pervasive technology is the need to nurture personal relationships, inside and outside the organization. The stereotype of a borderless company is globally distributed workers, suppliers, and customers, all communicating smoothlessly. The same technology that enables this communication creates distance between people: Business gets done between people you know and trust.

As a manager, I've sent corporatewide weekly email updates and felt that I've communicated well. Too often I've expressed what I thought was important, but have not addressed people's real concerns. Electronic communication doesn't allow for nuance, reaction, body language, or intuition. This is as true for customers and suppliers as it is for employees. With busy schedules, the “efficiency” of sending a string of emails feels good and can lull us into thinking that we are progressing. It's depressingly common to enter a meeting thinking that issues have been resolved only to find that people hold different assumptions and agreement is still far off.


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