Every age feels like it is changing too fast for the people living through it. Take, for example, the automobile, the motion picture and the telephone. Within a short span of time, a single generation of human beings had to learn how to cope with these and other disruptive events. They laid the groundwork for today’s highly connected digital life, but it wasn’t easy. People lost jobs. Values changed. Communities fell apart. Relationships were lost or broken.
It turns out that these periods of highly volatile change that we call “disruption” have occurred repeatedly in our history as a species, starting with the first “great leap forward” 60,000 years ago. At that time, in response to climate change, we started doing things differently – walking upright, communicating through spoken and written language, making maps and thinking about how our world worked. The hominid brain developed so rapidly that for a long time we searched for a “missing link,” some intermediate fossil record that showed how we got from the pre-human creatures we were to the human beings we are today. We now understand that there was no intermediate step. Our brains evolved, in a very short timeframe, into the home sapiens (“wise man”) model we see today. From an evolutionary perspective, our task was simple – change or die. We chose to change.
And we’re doing it again today.
We have a very short window to understand and adapt to:
- Intelligent machines
- Rewiring brain circuits
- Brain to machine interfaces
- Communication through brainwaves
- Downloading or ingesting learning
As a human resource professional, you might be contemplating one or more of these changes with a mixture of fear, uncertainty and dread. But human history teaches us two things about eras of massive disruption:
- We have found a way through every one of them so far.
- We have come out of the change a more powerful, connected and intelligent species.
I see no reason for the current disruptive cycle to be any different.
As HR professionals, we can either take the lead in this transformation or risk being swept away by the waves of change.
I choose to change. Come with me!