Since I began writing this blog, my primary focus has been the intersection between real estate and technology, with a little bit of my personal philosophies sprinkled in. For this entry, I would like to take a step back and examine what all good business, not just in real estate, really hinges on: interpersonal relationships.Don’t get me wrong. Using modern technology can certainly aid in fostering better relationships between teammates and clients, but good deals were being completed long before computers, and organizations were devising systems to help team members collaborate more efficiently long before smartphones and the cloud. Getting too caught up in the latest buzzwords of the day is the easiest way to lose your perspective.

YES, modern technology is a remarkable testament to human ingenuity and it can make our lives easier if used in the right way. What bothers me, though, is that the newfound importance placed on technology is completely overblown sometimes. Last time I checked, the closest thing we had to true artificial intelligence is the robot they had playing Jeopardy. While that’s relatively impressive (is it, though?) my overall point is that no matter how advanced the technology we are using today is, it still requires people to operate it who recognize the value it offers and use it appropriately.

The true potential of a particular piece of technology or software will NEVER be realized unless its users are well in-tune not only with its functionalities and purpose, but with themselves as well. In the end, you can have the best technology in the world, but without the right work culture, you will fail miserably. For example, what use is the latest cloud-based technology to a fragmented team that is already having communication issues? Do you really think the institution of a new software program is going to make up for the rifts in communication that have already manifested themselves amongst the team?

It’s sort of the equivalent to giving your child a new bicycle after they just got into a fight at school. Shiny new solutions that don’t directly address the underlying problem are nothing but a waste. A waste of money, as well as a wasted opportunity to communicate your true feelings about the situation, instill the necessary discipline, and begin the process of righting the ship.

So, if you want to enjoy the immense benefits offered by the latest technology, the responsibility falls first on you as a leaderto make sure that you have instilled a strong sense of trust in your team members. If you fail to do this, it will result in a work environment with no shared performance goals, no joint work efforts and no mutual accountability. Does that sound like the foundation you want to build on when spending out the nose to outfit your team with the latest and greatest technology? Sounds pretty crazy if you ask me. While I will always be a proponent of the newest gadgets, I will never put that sort of style over the substance that comes from having a completely unified team.