I recently had to replace a car and say goodbye to my beloved 2001 model year vehicle. The fact that it was totaled by my babysitter is a story for another time (everyone is ok), but it did lead to one of those moments where you realize how much change and innovation has been passing you buy. So much for considering power windows a luxury feature – now Bluetooth for your phone, built in GPS, and ports for all your technology do-dads seem standard in even the most modest of cars. Old news to all of you I’m sure, but it was hot off the presses to me. I was amazed at how much I had been doing without, and of course, now that I have all these features at my disposal, shocked that I survived without them.
That’s how change works. What else in our lives do we just not notice until something jolts us into the need to realize that there has been a seismic shift since the last time we looked? I’m a big believer in the fact that the notion of incremental change is somewhat flawed, at least when it comes to human beings. Most change we experience, or create for ourselves does not go slowly. Catalytic events occur, they force us to take a leap forward, not just a step. A major organizational change forces you to take on new work, or leave the work you thought was all you knew. Some major crisis smacks you in the face and makes you realize that they way you have been doing things just won’t work anymore. The unexpected call from a recruiter about a job you never even knew existed when you were sure you weren’t interested in a change comes out of nowhere.
These are the things that help us stay connected. They are sometimes painful, but essential. I bet most organizations also make the same mistake sometimes. If something isn’t broken, let’s not replace it until it crashes into something else. Only then do we realize we’d waited way too long to make things better and to take advantage of what today has to offer. I still miss my old car, and I would have preferred on one level to wait until next year to replace it as planned, but in the end, I can’t complain. Change for the sake of change can be a good thing too.