Managing Virtually, or Virtually Managing? Personal Connection at a Distance

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at markmullaly.com.

We live in a virtual world. What's more, to judge by the typical behavior of its average inhabitant, we like living in a virtual world. Social events are mediated through our smartphones, as evidenced by Instagram photos and Facebook videos. We tweet, “like”, ping and post our way through our intended-to-be-productive days and our periods of theoretical downtime.

We also seem really bad at managing ourselves and our priorities in the face of the social media onslaught, given the number of recommendations, strategies, suggestions, how-tos and helpful tips to turn off our notifications, limit when we check our email, minimize distractions, sleep effectively and manage our technological addition to being always “on”.

And if you are smugly reading this while nodding your head and thinking I'm talking about someone else, think again. I'm looking at you. All of you. According to research done by the Centre for Creative Leadership, the average work week of the average professional (and that would be you, just to be clear) is edging in on 72 hours per week. What's worse, however, is that we actually seem to like--or at least not mind--this state of affairs. Provided, of course, that requests of leadership and management are reasonable, and we have relative control of our schedules.

So what does this have to do with managing …

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"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

- George Bernard Shaw

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