Handling Change

We see change all around us. And when observed over a period of time, we can observe trends. We can ascertain whether or not the next best thing is either a fad or something longer lasting.

With respect to changes, we can observe say the increase smartphone-based internet access (Australia: 10% in 2008, 50% in 2014). We can measure the shift in migration patterns (Australia: 1960’s Europe was major source, now Asia is). We can analyse we more people are in service industries (Australia: 73% in 1960’s, 85% now).

Change is all around us.

But what are the drivers of change? What is causing the long term shifts in what we see around us?

Well I would say three things:

  1. the increasing awareness of our environment
  2. the rise of individualism
  3. the everpresent march of technological improvements

Regarding awareness of the environment: isn’t climate change an increasing concern? Aren’t there more solar panels on houses now? Regarding individualism: can’t we now more easily pursue what we want? Aren’t our options more open now than they have been in the past? Regarding technology: look at the capabilities of say 2014 models of cars compared to 20 years ago (reversing sensors, Bluetooth, etc). Look at what we can now do in say medicine, in robotics and in travel.

And what are some of the implications? What do these shifts mean? How will they affect your life, your business, the business of your customers, and society more generally?

Well, here’s three things:

  • you need to be an attractive manager or leader
  • increasing rate of change
  • expectation of immediacy

Attractiveness as a manager or leader is along the lines of “do people want to work with me and/or for me?” Nowadays work life balance is about personal values. Its not so much about time, but its about the things we are involved with (social, work, relationships, causes) being in balance and being consistent. Are your values consistent with those you manage or lead?

How about the increase in the rate of change? Can’t we solve problems sooner now? Think of the social platforms that are used to bring answers to difficult problems. The many people that are available to, and actively involved in, helping solve these perhaps intractable problems. A snowballing effect as our cumulative knowledge and capabilities build rapidly.

And the expectation of immediacy. Isn’t easier now to organise a school re-union than it was say 30 years ago. It used to be snail mail & waiting til you got home to make a phone call. Now, its an email, a social media connection & its all done! And, with respect to our particular inclination, we can satisfy our interests more easily. Whether in food, shopping, music, travel, books, etc. It seems as though there are no barriers.

And perhaps the best way of handling all of the many changes we face is through the opportunities us afforded through the phenomena of social capital.

Social capital? It has three components:

  1. trust
  2. reciprocity
  3. community value

So, its joining with others to enrich each of these three components.

In that community you are part of (work, business association, sporting club, etc), are you building trust? Can you be counted on to give? Do you uphold and support the your common set of values.

For studies have shown, and its perhaps so obvious that we miss it, but communities with rich fabric of social capital have more resources for individuals.

Resources for you to handle, and thrive, in this ever-changing world.

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