Yesterday’s Toys

December 26th, 2011 — 5:35am

The pace of change is now blazing fast, and getting faster. The change in e-Readers and tablets versus a year or two ago is a dramatic example. Companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon must innovate at nearly impossible speeds to keep ahead of each other, and recently-dominant companies like Borders and Best Buy are being left behind. It’s natural to be skeptical of change, because for virtually all of human history embracing change was a threat to survival. Being the guy who sampled all the traditionally-avoided berries was a recipe for a short life.

Now the opposite is true. Embracing change is essential for survival as an organization, and for effectiveness as an individual. Because our economic and technological environment is changing way faster than ever before, stay-the-course is rewarded less and innovation is rewarded more.

Our instincts don’t know the difference between things that really can kill – like eating the poison berries – and things that at worst will cost money or create a feeling of failure – like launching that new product. This means it’s often in our best interest to act against what feels natural and safe.

Former U.S Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki is often quoted for saying “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” I think it’s true that we have more to fear from resisting change than from embracing it. I encourage you to push yourself toward things that are objectively worthwhile but feel uncomfortable and risky. I’m really thankful for people who frequently nudge me in that direction, it’s paying off.