Everyone needs to think differently about the future, a future that is riddled with change, challenge, and risk. It is a new kind of future, not the steady plodding of progress from one moment to the next, punctuated by brief bursts of innovation that characterizes much of history. Now we face a post-9/11 future. The future of our lives, of our work, of our businesses – and most of all, the future of our world – depends on us gaining a new understanding of the dizzying changes that lie ahead. I call this future-readiness.
• James Canton, The Extreme Future: The Top Ten Trends That Will Reshape the World for the Next 5, 10, and 20 Years
I keep thinking about change. I’ve posted a lot about change. And I am, at times, confused. Do you ever feel that way?
On the one hand, the business books seem to have a very consistent message. Change is good. Change is necessary. Change is inevitable. Change is already here. (The Future Arrived Yesterday). Change is all around us. Nothing stays the same. Nothing can stay the same. We’ve got to embrace change, pursue change, love change, champion change. We’ve got to be perpetually innovating, we’ve got to be change agents, we’ve got to lead the way to change.
Is there any one left on the business world planet who is ready to argue that change is bad, that we should oppose change? Anybody? I didn’t think so.
So, we agree — change is the way we ought to go, the way we must go.
And yet, I read that change is hard, that change is not popular. I read that people don’t want to change, that people don’t change. I read that the status quo is the most powerful force in the universe (ok — the 2nd most powerful force in the universe, right behind the irresistible attraction to Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla).
So — I ‘m confused. And I suspect I am like a whole lot of others. I have read a lot of books about change. I know the vocabulary. I think I understand the concept pretty well. And I know the warnings that not changing is career/corporate suicide.
But I don’t like to change. I don’t even think that I want to change. Do you? (And if you say you do, do you really think you are telling the truth?)
If we know that change is so good, so necessary, and if we know that change would enhance our lives, further our careers, help make the world a better place — then why do we not like to change, and why is it so very hard to change?
I really don’t know the answer… but here’s a thought. To do things the same way is “easy.” Oh, it is still work, but it is “easy” work. To do things in a new way requires a whole new level of effort. And we really are tired — tired from dealing with all the change around us. It is easier, less effort, to just keep doing stuff the same way. Even when we know that to do it in a new way, a “changed” way, would be better. In fact, deep down I think we do know that if we don’t learn the new way, the “changed” way, we might really, really lose — our jobs, our careers, our future…
So, we know we should change. And we don’t change. Not enough. Not often enough.
Anyway, I keep thinking about change.