I know several people who are trying to go “paperless” as an organizational strategy. There is certainly something to be said for the ease of access for documents in the cloud, the weightlessness of toting your entire filing system with you and the ability to let an algorithm to instantly find a document from several years ago.

But I like paper.

I think about my dissertation – stored on a floppy disc – that would be essentially lost to me if I did not have a hard copy. I have hundreds of slides from my childhood that I have seen a few dozen times, but every day I see the printed photos that I have framed. I have files with articles that are older than the audience I am using them for, but that I am able to locate and reference almost as quickly as Siri. I know that countless PowerPoints and computer files have been abandoned in between job transitions, but the valuable work I have done is still with me on paper. I have handwritten notes from decades ago, but few of the nice emails I received before this year.

Beyond my own personal love affair with print, I wonder what the archivists and historians will use to tell the story of our era. I have read the letters between John and Abigail Adams that give such a poignant glimpse into life in the early days of our country – and I doubt someone will be able to access the computer files or phone texts of recent presidents and their wives to replicate that insight in the future. Old Moleskins, sketchbooks and journals have told the story of countless inventors and scientists and given a glimpse into emotion beyond what could be conveyed in a typed word. Would the Ann Frank story have even survived if it was written on a computer?

Don’t let technology cloud your thinking against keeping some of your treasures in print.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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