The one sentence summary

Change doesn’t happen faster now. There is just more of it – high frequency change.


  • This is all about why we feel as though change happens faster now, and what to do about it. 80-90% of people feel that change happens faster now.
  • Speed is not the issue when discussing change. Change has two dimensions: amplitude (a big wave) and frequency (many small ones).
  • It matters that the nature of change has changed, because unless we adapt to this new reality, then we, and our organisations, will fail.
  • Organisations often fail to see change coming because they have flawed planning systems. They look at short-term, but that’s just business as usual. They might look at long-term, but that’s too far off to be scary. The medium-term is rarely looked at, and that’s where high frequency change bites. Five-year plans are only revisited every few years, during which time high frequency change may have overtaken events, so the range of what is looked at is critical.
  • Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses? Individuals and organisations are designed to fight the equivalent of a horse-sized duck (large scale but slow moving), but today we are facing a hundred duck-sized horses (smaller but still disruptive and very fast-moving).
  • However, the idea of an age of disruption is just too broad. Tools amplify our powers, and technology lowers friction, so more happens more easily..
  • Humans are neophiles by nature – we love the new, the innovative, and the original. And yet when it comes to corporate change, we are neophobes – we don’t like it – which is why there is an entire change management industry. It’s important to take the blinkers off and examine trends for change, choice, power, speed and shape.


  • The traits of an athlete are needed to cope with high frequency change: acute perception (sharper senses), fast reactions (accelerating decisions), and agility (being fit for action).
  • Companies should be asking: are we doing the right things?  Will they be as valid tomorrow as they are today?
  • It is important to look at intersections – where the macro trends affecting an organisation meet the pressure points where they are likely to have the greatest effect.
  • Strategy is a system of expedients – the translation of knowledge to practical life.
  • The average length in a job these days is five years.


  • There is good advice, but don’t expect a step-by-step guide to dealing with change.