By Mark Rounds, VP of Corporate Development

In 1985 I saw my first facsimile machine in operation. The fax documents were sent over a phone line between two machines in different states. I was amazed. I immediately thought of several uses where we could increase our efficiency since we would no longer be confined to express mail or telegrams for our immediate written communication needs. Shortly after I saw this incredible invention, I read a magazine article that stated the fax machine would increase our productivity by 20%. The author concluded that this monumental increase in production would result in a three-day weekend! Instead, we ended up doing 20% more work in the week.

Philip Crosby, a quality improvement guru from the late 1900’s stated that business can be reduced to two activities: transactions and relationships. I believe his statement is just as true today. What I have observed is all of our technological advancements such as mobile phones, tablets, portable computers and wi-fi have increased the speed of transactions. But instead of using our new found capacity to build relationships, we fill the void with more transactions: I can perform more transaction in one day than what I was able to accomplish in a week back in 1985! The amount of information and the speed of transactions are increasing at an exponential pace, and with text messaging, Facebook, Twitter and the likes, we are starting to transactionalize our relationships.

One example of transactionalization that concerned me was a recent Amazon commercial where a parent commands Alexa to read a bedtime story. What! Are you kidding me? Turning the bedtime story into a transaction is just plain wrong. We are so enamored about how many things we can do (such as 100 text messages in a day) that we fail to do the things we should do (such as read to our children). I think at times we as humans find more joy at doing things even if they are not important. Our short-term desire to be efficient with our “do lists” drives us away from the time intensive labor of developing effective relationships. We have become a society of human doings instead of human beings.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am ecstatic about the increased speed of transactions afforded by today’s technology. The increased speed provides additional capacity in my day. I prefer to use the majority of this available time to work on relationships with clients, friends, and family.

Vogel Bros. challenges you to join us in redefining work. We see work as both relationships and transactions. It includes tasks, self-development, corporate improvement, developing others, and serving people. Applying the 80-20 rule, where tasks are 80% of our work, that leaves 20%, (or an entire day each week) where we help others, the company and ourselves. These interactions occur throughout everyday, strengthening our relationships, and creating an enjoyable and truly collaborative working environment.

Today’s technology has increased the speed of transactions; my question for you is “how will you use the new found time?” The increased speed provides additional capacity, but instead of filling it with more transactions, you may want to try serving others, building your relationships (both old and new), and increasing your knowledge through learning. (Maybe you could spend it reading with children.)