Notice How People Respond To Change

Everyone responds to change. Some adapt to a new set of environmental variables. Others change how they react to outcomes. You can learn quite a bit by observing.

Changing behaviours

People who notice what is now different and adjust their lives to avoid problems and capture opportunities are not so hard to notice. We usually see the early adapters most clearly. They provide the greatest contrast. Motorola, Nokia, Blackberry and others saw the way to make different telephones, so today, no 10-year-old understands why some one says, “I, going to hang up now.” Many phones are to the point where the telephone is itself a secondary tool.

Young people don’t need to change their behaviour. They have known nothing else.

When change doesn’t happen

I think we all know that by not changing we have to defend mistakes. Ignoring mistakes is not the way to grow. Eventually you become completely out of touch. Recall  advice from J. Paul Getty that in times of great change, experience is likely to be your worst enemy.

There are groups and institutions today that have the problem.

Naval Ravikant

Naval is a Businessperson, an investor, and social commentator. His pieces are typically short and insightful. This one from two weeks ago is instructive. Its title tells the story. Groups Never Admit Failure.

“Individuals are the only ones who admit failure. Even individuals don’t like to admit failure, but eventually, they can be forced to.”

The article points out why and examples we have seen. “I’m hard pressed to find examples in history of large groups that said, “We thought A, but the answer’s actually B.” The result is a schism. The original group doesn’t survive as it was.

“You don’t learn much if outcomes are always declared as victories. “I was on the board of a foundation that was charged with giving out money for a cause, and I found it very disillusioning because what I learned was that no matter what the foundation did, they would declare victory. Every project was victorious. Every project was a success. There was a lot of back slapping. There were a lot of high-sounding mission statements and vision statements, a lot of congratulations, a lot of nice dinners—but nothing ever got done.

Think about how costly it is to not adapt. You make the same mistake over and over. Maybe once it was not a big mistake because things changed slower. Now it is. Like Getty’s idea of experience hurting you.

Change is hard but not impossible if you pay attention and work at methods.

The bit to take away

Do not deny that change exists. It might not seem beneficial at first, but it will affect you.

Help groups, institutions and others to change their mind about things that are no longer true.


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I build strategy and fact-based estate and income plans. The plans identify alternate ways and alternate timing to achieve both spending and estate distribution goals. In the past I have been a planner with a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency, 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. I have appeared on more than 100 television shows on financial planning, have presented to organizations as varied as the Canadian Bar Association, The Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Banks – from CIBC to the Business Development Bank.

Be in touch at 705-927-4770 or by email to don@moneyfyi.com

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