Businesses today operate at great speed. As such, decisions are often made in haste and actions, whether reactive or pro-active, are implemented at a moment’s notice. At least that is how it has appeared to me over the last decade.
Several years ago, Ontario was part of a huge electrical blackout caused by an overload on the electricity grid. My area was without power for two days. We had no notice, so there was no opportunity to prepare for the descent to the dark ages. The first night, I sat with several candles burning, mulling over my sales reports and jotting notes down using pencil and paper. Although I envisioned myself working away like Bob Cratchit in Scrooge’s office, it really was nothing more than an inconvenience, a blip in the real scheme of things.
I discovered that business can go on, albeit at a slower pace, and thanks to solar cells, generators, batteries and electrical converters, I was actually in a better position to continue working without power than previous generations who had it. I would never trade my solar calculator for the push button pull handle style my father used.
The past few weeks travelling throughout the Highlands of Scotland, gave me another experience to reflect on. The ability to transmit data, blogs, e-mails, business information etc over the Internet is something we take for granted today. Most of us have some sort of broadband connection with lightning quick transfer times. I hadn’t given much thought to the Internet as I packed my netbook for the trip, fully expecting to blog about the differences in approach in business between Scotland and Canada.
It was not to be! I was dumbfounded to find out that the hotel we stayed at (the first of 7 on the trip) did not have Internet in the rooms. I was able to locate a single computer in the lobby, at a cost of 1 pound for 15 minutes. No problem, I’d log on quickly to read and respond to email. 10 minutes later I had just connected to Yahoo. I managed to read only two emails before my time was up. I figured this was simply a bad connection at this hotel. Nope. Two hotels we stayed at had no Internet at all, one didn’t even have phones in the room. I was able to connect in Edinburgh and Glasgow, but by that time the emails numbered in the hundreds, and the cost for high-speed in terms of dollars and my wife’s indifference to my working on vacation took its toll.
At the airport I picked up the Scottish Sun, and read an article entitled “Broadband Speed’s Ad It” It stated “the consumer gets less than half their advertised speed” … “3/4 of the UK get 6.5 Mbs”. That isn’t surprising to me now. What is surprising, is that business in Scotland flourishes. Despite the difference in Internet speeds between here and there, successful business transactions and trade overseas abound. There is no communication gap, and information there and from around the world is still processed in the blink of an eye. I am left wondering how much of a difference seconds really make in our “extreme business” environment here. Perhaps we are too stressed about time and speed.
Truth is I am now all caught up, emails read and the majority deleted, which is the norm for most regular days. The business ran smoothly, and the little bit of communication was enough. Perhaps the mega pace we try to keep up in business today is just a little too fast! If we dropped down to a Kilo Pace would anyone notice?