The one sentence summary
Change doesn’t happen faster now. There is just more of it – high frequency change.
WHAT THE BOOK SAYS
- 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.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- 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.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- There is good advice, but don’t expect a step-by-step guide to dealing with change.