The pace of change has picked up. Not only is the world flat, the world adopts technology, new standards at a much faster pace than ever before. Just look at what Google and Facebook have done for business and cultural expectations. Yesterday Facebook introduced a new profile feature and Google introduced an ebook store. Millions of people immediately adapted and adopted the new options. As a matter of fact, we have come to expect this kind of dynamic change. This fast pace has created a lot of opportunity for some and has been the demise of others. To me, this new business model is defined by ambiguity.
What does that mean? It means that as a leader I still need to know where I want to take my organization, but I no longer have the luxury of planning my trip all the way to its final destination. Along the way the road might turn right, left or not at all, but I won’t know it until I get further down the road.
Do you remember the 5 and 10 year plans? I do. I went through a lot of them. Today they are a big waste of time. If you’re going to survive this new faster race, you will have to be able to adapt and do so quickly. Once upon a time business plans plotted the course from A to Z by connecting all the dots and creating a linear path through the business alphabet: A connects to B that connects to C and so forth. In the new economy A connects to B and C might be something completely different that it was a few months ago. As a matter of fact, C might not even be there at all. Unless you’re able to, not only live with ambiguity but also embrace and anticipate change, you’re going to be left behind.
What are the implications for businesses, churches and ministries? More than ever before, organizations have to know who they are and what they want because the “how” of their plans will be a continuously moving target. This can be frustrating to a lot of people, but it’s also exciting and dynamic for those who learn to embrace change, try new ideas and discard systems that stop delivering.
The cost of inertia has just gone up. Way up.
How do you feel about leading and working with uncertainty and ambiguity? Are you experiencing that in your world?