It never fails to happen at my parent’s house in Kentucky. No matter what the family is doing. We could be playing a board game or cards. We could be having a great discussion or telling stories of years gone by. We could be having a meal together. We could even be watching a show together on television. But at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, my Dad is stopping everything, switching the television to the local NBC affiliate and watching the weather forecast.
I shake my head as I think about how he will have to wait 13 minutes and sit through a couple of commercials before they take 6 minutes to tell him what is going to happen with weather in the area. I open my smartphone and get the entire forecast for the local area plus all the areas we have to travel through in the next two days to get home in about 30 seconds. Why does my Dad wait all day until 5pm to perform his ritual of watching the television to get the weather forecast? He’s not going to change.
But before we laugh too much at my Dad, how are you at adapting to our ever-changing world?
During the Holiday season, Ann Marie and I stopped into our local Chili’s restaurant during our holiday shopping. On every table, there was a new electronic device. This device allows you to play games, place your order and pay your bill when you are finished eating. It’s possible to only interact with your server if you want a special order or when they bring your food to the table. I asked the server how the devices were going over. “Not everyone is thrilled with them,” he said. “One guy said if he comes back and that thing is on his table, he would never come back!”
What is it about us that want to resist change?
What about self-checkout at the supermarket? I continue to see long lines where there are two checkers and baggers and hardly anyone at the self-checkout machines. “They should just hire more check-out people. I don’t want to use those” people continually say. My prediction: There will be more machines and less checkers in years to come.
We live in an ever-changing world. Things will be different this year than the way they were last year. Personally, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want things to be better. Growing up in Kentucky, we had three over-the-air television channels. We had an outdoor antenna for the television, and occasionally, someone had to go out and turn the pole so the television station reception would be better. In the 1970’s, I remember when the first UHF station started broadcasting and we had to get a special antenna for it. So exciting! Later on, when I moved out in 1981, I got an apartment, which had cable. Now we’re talking! It had 20 channels. In 1984, I saved money for a whole year in order to buy a VHS machine, which could play VHS movies and record from the television. In 1989, I got my first satellite dish and in 1997 my first DVD player. It cost 1,000 dollars by the way. In 2011, I became an Amazon Prime subscriber utilizing streaming through my computer and a ROKU. Never in all that time did I want to go backwards, I always wanted something better. What’s wrong with change? Why do we resist something better?
Are people who hate change or refuse to change fighting a losing battle?
Change is hard-wired into the Universe. Winter becomes spring. Spring becomes summer. Summer becomes fall and fall becomes winter. You go from your teens to your 20’s to your 30’s to your 40’s and so on. Will this year move faster than previous years? Absolutely. It may move at the same pace chronologically but technology is an accelerant. It makes things appear to happen faster. Here’s an example. It’s Saturday morning at 7am. There is a book I’ve been thinking I want to read. I no longer have to shower, change into shopping clothes drive to the mall and wait for the bookstore to open at 10am. I just grab my reader and push a button. Viola! I’m reading in 15 seconds. Here’s another one. A client would like to speak to me as soon as possible. She used to call my office and leave a message and wait until I got back there or called in to see if anyone called. Now, she just shoots me a text “Call me when you can”. Business is about speed and the faster you can make it go without sacrificing any quality, the better the market treats you.
Continuing to resist change does us no good at all. We should prepare ourselves by shifting our hearts and minds to the perception change is good. Change makes things easier. Change makes things better. Resisting something takes a lot of energy. Participation in the transition of change may be uncomfortable at first, but it will add to your energy because you will have more energy to devote to something else. Using your energy to resist change is wasteful and futile. You have the power to determine the quality and effectiveness of your life, work and leadership by your response to our ever-changing world.