Today’s change is not just more rapid, more complex, more turbulent, more unpredictable. Today’s change is unlike any encountered before. George Land
George Land’s comment was written 24 years ago, and the rapidity of change has continued to increase. Today, in America, it seems obvious that more complex, turbulent change is on its way. It also seems obvious that we all will need to become as capable of change as the environment. Yet it is well known that humans basically don’t prefer change; we tend to ignore it, avoid it, or deny it, or we invent some self-serving strategies: Change is good, you go first, Dilbert.
Today, in the world, we are beginning a new year; the future will be full of uncertainties. It is a time for reflection and renewal. It will be a time of change happening to us and change happening by us. However, we may be handicapped by the future neuroses called “paradigm paralysis”.
In 1993 I presented four future neuroses that inhibit our thinking and doing about the future. * One was “paradigm paralysis” (Joel Barker) — the inability to shift one’s point of view. It is when we get stuck in one point of view. With paradigm paralysis, we become incapable of seeing that things are no longer the way they used to be. This is dysfunctional because it restricts flexibility and changeability. The cure is open-mindedness; being receptive to change.
The beginning of the new year in America suggests the possibility of “change that is unlike any encountered before”. The good thing about the new year and new president is that it will be very hard for anyone to become incapable of seeing that things are no longer the way they used to be. Things will be so different that paradigm paralysis will be difficult, maybe impossible. It is a time for a new view and some behavioral change.
In fact, we may learn some important lessons about change. For example, the change strategy of “you go first” won’t work. Or waiting to see what will happen will not be a good change strategy. “Becoming as capable of change as the environment” has been my recommended strategy for years. If you don’t like what is happening in America, you have two choices: change it or let someone else. Change is changing, are you?
There are three types of people in this world:
Those who make things happen,
Those who watch things happen,
Those who wonder what happen
Mary Kay Ash