Change Is About More Than Technology

Change happens whether we like it or not

We have three approaches to change:

  1. Ignore it and adapt as necessary
  2. Seek it and embrace it
  3. Deny it and hold on to the past

None work well

We never know enough about the change to make rational decisions. Even when we are close to knowing everything, we did not know it soon enough. Paradoxically, change is the only constant in our lives.

None work well because change is never one dimensional. We can look at things like block-chain technology and say it is like money, just digital, and that would be one manifestation of it. Land title records, contracts of all types, copyrights and patents, and almost anything recordable can be influenced.

To have a change of any kind fit into society, there must be operational rules in addition to the change. It is not enough to know about and embrace the change. We must know what it means and how to implement, control and limit what can now occur.

It is isn’t the change that causes the problem

The problem arises from our inability to fit it into a familiar context. The early adapters will find that few changes come in a complete form. It is not enough to embrace it, there is a requirement to make it meaningful. It must be shaped to suit its context.

Those that do nothing until the change becomes contextualized tend to treat the change as self-evident and draw no wonder from it. Neither do they become more adept  at dealing with change.

Those that deny change has occurred get in the way of establishing meaning and context. Trying to retain old ways that have become meaningless in a broad context is not wrong as long as the context remains you, as an individual.  Only you will participate in the inefficiency and insecurity of the old.

Why would people keep old ideas and methods?

Most of the time it is because they are comfortable. People do not like change. It forces them to do new things in new ways. The old ways were good enough, why change?

That is only true when the old ways are examined in the old context. I am amused by people who still have a bank book and write checks. I doubt I write three personal checks a year. Online banking is a marvelous thing. Yet, there are those who enjoy the security of bank statements with cancelled checks and talking to a teller to make deposits.

Some old ideas may have ongoing validity. Ethics and morals evolve over thousands of years and address fundamental needs of humanity. Primarily the needs for predictability and security. Perhaps our place in the universe.

Technology is changing so quickly that many of our older philosophical and religious ideas seem to be obsolete. With nothing to replace them in our new context we will have difficult problems. Euthanasia and abortion are two. Neither was a material issue without technology.

Where to from here?

Governments will have a harder time collecting their rent from the citizens. Old government methods work best when people are attached to a particular place by reason of investment that is not mobile. Farmers are easier to tax than hunters. Manufacturers are easier to regulate than digital based companies. Poor people easier to control.

Religion is becoming obsolete. Asking how did it get power in the first place will lead you to the answer to why. Community is a value. A religious community had evolutionary advantage. People with shared goals, similar resources and strong rules as to methods. Communities are more diversified today. Religions have not adjusted to technology. People don’t need priests to communicate values.

Family will change.  The traditional family is already hard to find. Communication technology allows complicated family relationships to flourish. There is still the family element and the joy of seeing young people mature, but it is not three generations on one farm.

Access to information devalues the old gatekeepers of information. Teachers can become obsolete. Priests and ministers too. Even parents.

Communication ability is the key

It requires us to see the changes and estimate their meaning. It requires new ways to think about things. Time is compressed. Decisions quicker and less well evolved. Adaptability is a crucial skill.

To succeed we must be able to communicate better. Incoming information is important if we want to keep up. We must receive information quickly and well. We must analyze its validity and attach to other things we know. We must attach that to our needs and circumstances.

Outgoing information has just one requirement. We must be able to hold the attention of the person who receives our message. We cannot be out of touch with our audience. We must be relevant. Governments, religions, and mass media are fast giving up their position as people who should be listened to.

They will have a hard time regaining that position. 

Be curious about you surroundings. Recognize that younger people see the world differently. Be willing to surrender some of your old ideas. Be relevant. 

Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario.  In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.

Please be in touch if I can help you.  866-285-7772

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