Yesterday, over lunch at an international conference, I was chatting to one of the other speakers. He was a fellow author, sometime journalist, and commentator.

He had written a book a while ago and I suggested he could update and repurpose the book for business. He wasn't interested. Lots of reasons why, but plainly he couldn't be bothered. "But all you need to do is create a new outline, think of where to find some statistics to update it and then hire someone from student job search or even overseas to do it all for you inexpensively". Again, he gave an excuse 'it's not my thing, do you want to do it for me"?

The conversation moved to how he wrote. "I've gone back to the fountain pen'.
I tried not to stare in horror. After all he writes for a living. "How do you submit your articles" I queried. "Oh, I do (re)write them on the computer. But I'm so slow, I'm a two finger typist" he replied holding up the forefingers of both hands."

He carried on. "It's the worst when I turn on all caps by mistake and I'm half a page down before I know it. Then I have to enter a lot of space, to move what I wrote down and then retype it"


Now I did look at him in horror. "Oh my goodness, that can be fixed in a second! There's a function in Word that you can highlight your text, and change the case of the text to sentence case" I replied.

"I'm a dinosaur" he somewhat proudly replied.

Perhaps my response was too confrontational (do you think so)? But when someone comes up with a negative response to every positive suggestion you make, there's only one thing to do, which I did.

Made my excuses and walked away.

What is the moral of the story here?

In a business environment, time and money is precious. A commodity not to be wasted. How many dinosaurs do you have working for you? Or are you perhaps a closet dinosaur? Why waste 20 minutes of your life doing something that can be done in 3 minutes? Think of the lost opportunities and possibilities from being steadfast in 'I don't know my way around a computer'. In 2016 it's not possible. You are undoubtedly working with people now who were born after the internet, never heard the word telex and only use a land line at work.

If you're a manager or owner, is software knowledge one of your hiring requirements? When I need staff, I ask them a group of questions covering situations that would occur in different Microsoft office software. For example, what would they do if they had a column on full names in an Excel spreadsheet and it needed to be split into two columns; one with first names, the second with last names. Depending on their answers I can tell if their knowledge matches where they say they are; and if they're trainable.

What do you think?


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