LONDON — With every day comes a new mix of the hurtling pace of change and the underlying “sameness” of everyday life.
And while change is so prevalent in business discussions that people blush to say it is a constant, there remains a fundamental, underlying constancy about what we know to be familar too.
The future is here and it’s pretty amazing. But it’s also not as alarming as The Jetsons, Star Wars or 1984 promised.
Two articles in today’s New York Times point out the way the future is happing now, and how it very much is not.
Yesterday, the first and biggest Internet-based business, Amazon, announced the launch of Fire TV. Whether Fire TV becomes what it hopes to or does not is irrelevant today. Amazon is so enthusiastic about it that they haven’t even bothered to explain all the ways that it may change lives.
With Fire TV we will be able to buy clothes we like on TV shows, book holidays to see a spot we like in a movie, or package up our own home movies (with great in-built production) and sell them on directly.
All of which sounds pretty exciting. It is decribed as the battle for one of the remaining areas of communication — having already colonised books, music and telephones.
At the same time there’s a lovely and clueless article in the same paper about “normcore”. This is a phenomena that may not even be a phenomena. It’s a fashion trend that has been generating masses of ink this year, and it may not even exist.
Normcore is decribed as the desire / ability to dress like a tourist. To wear ill-fitting jeans, white trainers and a baseball hat. That is to fit in with everyone around you. To go to a football game and enjoy it, like everyone else.
There is plenty more that you can read on each of these developments across any media you choose.
How do they fit into business and the ability to manage change?
Well they do. They tell us about the world we live in.
In the midst of change people will always look for signs of familiarity. They will be drawn to things that remind them of old routines. They will seek out opportunities to renew old habits. They will look to find ways to “fit in”.
Change is fundamentally difficult and runs counter to basic human nature. We never change our bank accounts. We try to park in the same spot. We choose to work with people we know.
However, there is no denying the pace of change. And the need to adapt. Intellectually most experienced business people can see that and they can get excited about it: Bring on Fire TV!
While at the same time we will also quickly revert to what we know. That’s why so many changes fail. Whether you are a football manager who brings his own “back room” staff, or a call centre worker who carries around his own photos, you’re hanging on to what you know: your own normcore.
As a result, the fundamental issue in managing change can be as simple as knowing what needs to change and appreciating what does not.