Body Cameras Anyone?

This new and expanded use of technology got me thinking about what would have been different about my own life if everyone, or nearly everyone had been wearing a camera during the major parts of their work and relaxation time.

It would have made “data collection” – part of any consulting, training or coaching intervention – much easier. Before working on problems confronting clients we did and still do ask for their interpretation of events. We might also interview others who would have insights into situations. And of course there are online tools that can easily gather input from a variety of people about a situation or a person. All of course rely on the judgment and memory as well as perception of the person speaking or writing.

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But what if there were actual digital material showing managers and leaders and board members demonstrating what was REALLY said and done in a variety of situations? “Oh I thought you said you listen empathetically to each of your staff. Well I just reviewed the actual digital record of your meetings with your staff and it seems to tell a different story. Hmm, so you don’t think you need communication skills training and one to one coaching for your temper?” That sounds powerful but also more than a little tough to handle.

When we socialized we met places or picked a potential mate from someplace like New York Magazine — LONG before online dating there was of course ads in magazines and newspapers. But let’s assume that in order to place one’s ad, the person looking for a mate would have to include actual digital material showing actual dates (with some edits allowed of course – let’s not go too crazy) and audio of the actual conversations and interactions before and after a movie or dinner? Well, I could have dropped Alan or John several years if not months earlier – now that might have made a REAL difference in my life.

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It sounds wonderful doesn’t it — no more “buying” a “pig in a poke”. The truth would be known – and transparency would rule – if you can’t digitally prove it, why should I believe someone is the lovely person they insist they are? Actually this isn’t science fiction or the future – there are apps now which rate people socially. When we were young there was not only no such thing, but it was virtually impossible to know anything about anybody outside of your immediate circle. Which is to say no one could find anything out about you either.  That’s looking more and more like a good thing.

Wait a minute. This is beginning to sound really weird – not least because of the time involved in looking at a device of some kind to review all the digital records. No more wasting time with drinks or coffee at a lovely place with a great view – that time would now be spent reviewing someone’s past. No more time spent wandering the campus of an organization since all/most observations could be picked up by camera and reviewed without hearing and seeing and needing to sift through contradictory data.

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Being fabulous means of course many things — but in this discussion, certainly honesty and transparency would appeal to any fabulous woman. After all we grew up with truths like this one: “the truth will set you free”.

I would like to think that if I had a camera on me the whole time I was working in corporations or talking/meeting on the phone or in person with dozens of people there is nothing I would have done differently than I actually did. Same thing personally. I thought I made a few faux pas socially – but other than 10 or so I can recall at this minute my guess is I would have been pretty much the same. Really? I haven’t felt this happy about being over 60 for a LONG time!

– Patty Gill Webber