“You Don’t Need to Embrace Change” – Some Advice You Won’t be Reading These Days

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

Bob Dylan: The Times, They are a Changin’


The jury is in.  There is true consensus.  The times, they are a changin’…  and because they are, everyone in business; everyone with a career; everyone! has to change a little (or a lot) to keep up.

Business books, plural, all seem to find a way to say this.

In Get There Early:  Sensing the Future to Compete in the Present Using Foresight to Provoke Strategy and Innovation by Bob Johansen (Institute for the Future), we are reminded that we live in a VUCA world:
the VUCA world of (VUCA originated at the U. S. Army War College – the graduate school for Generals-to-be):  Volatility; Uncertainty; Complexity; Ambiguity.

In As the Future Catches You:  (How Genomics and Other Forces are Changing Your Life, Work, Health, and Wealth), Juan Enriquez:
If it seems like your world has been topsy-turvy over the past few years…  Consider what’s coming.  Your genetic code will be imprinted on an ID card…  For better and worse.  Medicines will be tailored to your genes and will help prevent specific diseases for which you may be at risk…  It all starts because we are mixing apples, oranges, and floppy disks.
Many are unprepared for…  the violence and suddenness with which…   new technologies change…  Lives…  Companies…  Countries…  Because they do not understand what these technologies can do.

In The Extreme Future: The Top Ten Trends That Will Reshape the World for the Next 5, 10, and 20 Years by James Canton, CEO and Chairman, Institute for Global Futures:
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.

And, to look at a direct “holy mackerel, what’s going to happen to my job?” concern, in Innovation Is Everybody’s Business:  How To Make Yourself Indispensable In Today’s Hypercompetitive World by Robert B. Tucker:
Simply working harder will not be enough.  Relying solely on your functional skills and expertise will not be enough.  And even accumulating more years of experience on the job will not be enough.
The underlying issue is this.  The system wants to eliminate your job.

I could go on and on. I’ve read hundreds of business books over the last 13+ years, and not once have I read a book that says this:

“You don’t need to embrace change.  Just keep doing what you’re doing, the way you are doing it now, for the next few years.  You’ll be fine.”

Not once.

And I am ready to state something close to an absolute:  if you think your job, your career, your company, your organization, will stay pretty much the same; or, if you think you can do what you need to do to be successful in your job without learning anything new, without preparing yourself for pretty unsettling change(s) – then you are living in fantasyland.

The jury is in. The times, they are a changin’.  And the more we get with that program, the better off we will be.

But, oh, we do not like change.  We do not like preparing for change.  We do not like acknowledging that change is necessary.  We do not like admitting that change is upon us.

But it is.

The times, they are a changin’…

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