Challenges to Leaders are all around us.
We are living in an era of great change: socially, politically, environmentally, technologically and in nearly every aspect of our lives. This presents wonderful opportunities for us while at the same time it represents threats. As a nation while we are excitedly and anxiously awaiting events and advancements we have had to deal with the pandemic. This has given us time to reflect on how we live our lives, how we do things and what is important. Most of us are not creating these events or advancements – there are other people and businesses doing that for all of us.
But we have to navigate our way through these changes. Change is not something that mankind has embraced easily over time. Change, although positive in the long run, can be daunting for most of us in the short term. When we put into perspective the world in which we live and compare the changes we are experiencing to previous generations we sometimes think we are moving ever faster in the pace of change.
However, the rate of change that we are experiencing is an exponential curve that really started to have an impact in the mid 1800’s. Let me share a short story here. The electric engine arrived in the mid-1800s and industry immediately starting replacing steam engines with the new electric engines. This was a very dramatic change.
Yet most Industries did the same thing. All that we did was change the engine from steam power to electrical power. We didn’t change much in the way of the methods or procedures at all, that was left for another generation. You see, these two events, changing the power source AND changing processes and methods would have been too much to absorb in society at one time. It took a new generation before new processes and methods were changed and then productivity change accelerated.
It seems like resistance to change can be so powerful, that it can hold back productivity gains. This begins to make sense when we realize that the changes that are made that increase productivity, to some degree increase risk for the work force. So, leadership becomes even more critical when we are faced with times of great change.
The time is now.