Robert Lutz’s boss and wife both complain about the amount of time he spends on his BlackBerry according to Automotive News. But the General Motors product czar insists he wouldn’t be without the wireless communications device.”It’s an intimate part of my life,” Lutz says. “I use it constantly. It’s 80 percent professional, 20 percent personal.”
Executives say the wireless devices help them stay connected to work around the clock, from anywhere in the world. The devices allow them to get out of the office and still get their work done. If an on-the-job crisis strikes, they add, the devices keep them accessible.
Lutz exemplifies both the risks and the rewards. He told Automotive News he “really went off the deep end” when he developed a penchant for checking e-mail messages on his BlackBerry during “formal situations” at work.
Lutz’s boss, GM CEO Rick Wagoner, cited the problem during his performance review last year. Lutz says Wagoner scolded him: “You’re taking this multitasking too far.”
‘Out the window’
Lutz concedes his wife, Denise, has warned him, half-jokingly, about his BlackBerry use away from the office: “At times my wife says: ‘If you don’t stop using that and start talking to me, I’m going to grab it and throw it out the window.’ ”
Lutz, 74, says the mobile technology caused him some initial discomfort. But now, he adds, his BlackBerry is a constant companion. The device removes an executive’s tether to his or her laptop computer, he says.
“The beauty is it’s completely mobile,” Lutz says. “It’s a huge time saver.”
Lutz says he uses his BlackBerry on his way to airports and during corporate ride-and-drive events. He checks sales data and exchanges e-mail messages with coworkers without disrupting his travel schedule.
“In the old days, that was all dead time,” Lutz says. “This way, you’re still available. You can still grant approval. You can still argue.”