Human beings are courageous and resilient. We can deal with almost anything as long as we do not become disconnected from other human beings. There is mounting research that proves we need and thrive in positive, human interaction. Research from more than half a century ago found that a lack of human interaction can damage a person’s physical and emotional health. Recent studies at MIT are demonstrating that the higher the number human interfaces team members experience, the higher the levels of trust and performance.
Telepresence, skype and quality webcam technology is more and more effective but it is still inefficient in the creation of meaningful team trust. This does not mean we should make an unrealistic attempt to reduce the use of technology–but if you are building a high-performance team, allowing at least occasional face-to-face communication will be more important than saving money on travel. Studies shows that trust can stall in electronic contexts but be repaired by face-to-face contact.
The legacy of 21st Century enterprise should be the recognition that it’s not about businesses, it’s about people trusting people. We may be working in a global marketplace, but at its core, the unit of performance is still the individual who thrives in positive, human interaction and excels with trusted team members.