For any of us that have been online, watched TV, or know someone that has, we know that the term “app” is short for software application.  The technology geniuses at Apple made this term famous with the introduction of the iPhone and now with the iPad.  Jumping on the band wagon, just about every other manufacturer has figured out how to stuff a small computer in a cheap plastic case and call it a PDA or smartphone, complete with thousands of “apps” to choose from – Apple, Android, Windows Mobile 7, etc.

Today, there are more than 250,000 apps across the different mobile device platforms, and the number grows daily due to innovation at speeds never before seen.  Whether looking for love, editing photos, or creating noises that resemble bodily functions, there is an app for that only a click away.  Although some of these apps are absolutely useless, they can all be downloaded to miniature devices that a few years ago were thought to be only fiction, like those used in Star Trek and Star Wars.  At this rate of technology evolvement, it’s only natural to wonder what will come next – will there come a time where these little apps will give you an answer before we even know what the question will be?

Even with the technological advancements that most of us take advantage of, I have yet to find an app for common sense.  Wouldn’t it be great to touch an icon and avoid stupid mistakes that can drive away a customer, piss off your boss, or create ill will with your co-workers and/or employees?

In today’s day and age it is becoming more commonplace for us to rely on artificial intelligence as our source for decisions that should be made using human common sense.  Managers need to train their employees on how to use the gray matter in between their ears to make the right decisions.  All of us were taught simple and effective rules by our parents, teachers, and even mentors on how to think before we act.  However, we have all heard of stories surrounding the consequences of accidentlly hitting the send button to an email that was meant to allow an employee’s venting about their boss or co-worker.

Although I am a huge fan of technology and its application, especially in the business world, there are a host of common sense rules we should all follow to save the embarrassment or consequences of pressing that send key too quickly.  We have all heard these common sense rules before, but they are worth repeating since they often seem to be forgotten!

  • Always, always, always count to 10 before hitting the send key and firing off an email that was written out of emotion – good or bad. Unlike relationships, money or even jobs, email is really forever and can come back to haunt you.
  • Never, never, never rely on electronic communication to develop long lasting relationships. Whether trying to connect with a customer, a candidate, or a member of the opposite sex, real relationships are built on trust. The last time I looked, there wasn’t an app for that!
  • When negotiating with a customer, candidate, spouse or child, ask yourself one question: “Are you doing it so you can say you won or because it will really benefit your business or your family?” Too many times our goal is to close the deal or get our way, rather than to be a more effective manager, salesperson, husband, wife, or parent.
  • In sales, you are taught that the first person to respond after you ask a question loses. Abraham Lincoln once said, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” Too often people talk themselves in or out of a transaction because they provide TMI – too much information. When you have made your point or asked your question, shut up!
  • If it’s too good to be true, it usually is. Look at the havoc that convicted conman and financial swindler Bernie Madoff inflicted on his loyal investors. Although it’s nice to give the other guy the benefit of the doubt, trust, but also verify.

Obviously, technology can go a long way in improving our efficiency and effectiveness as managers and recruiters alike, if used properly.  However we all need to remember that there is no current app for common sense and clear thinking.  This is the secret sauce that separates the human mind from the mind made up of processors and chips.   I guess the good news is that if you check your common sense at the door, there are thousands of apps that can help you find multiple excuses for your idiotic mistakes.