By Christopher Surdak
In their 1960’s hit song, “Get Off of My Cloud,” Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones lament about others around them ruining their otherwise perfect sense of reality. Many of today’s business leaders are dealing with the same sense of malaise, caused by outside forces beyond their control. However, unlike the intrusive neighbours or loud TV pitchmen in the song, the force that is ruining these leaders’ sense of tranquility is business disruption brought about by technology innovation. In this essay, we will discuss how disturbing and disrupting stones can bring about the end of empires.
If you have read any of my previous articles for TEBR you may have noticed that the themes of technology, disruption, and social change are near and dear to me. The more I get into these topics with people around the world, the more certain trends begin to reveal themselves. Top amongst these changes is the accelerating need for us to embrace change, and our apparently increasing tendency to resist it. Most of us have a well-developed resistance to change. This is a survival skill that humanity developed over the millennia as a necessary counterbalance to our innate wanderlust.
As a result, I am not terribly surprised when I run into leaders who are presently faced with the need to make dramatic changes in their organisations yet fail to acknowledge the reality that surrounds them. Indeed, legend has it that when Native Americans first saw Europeans sailing ships on their horizon they couldn’t actually see the ships themselves, as their eyes and their brains had never experienced such a site before.
In our present world driven by the Digital Trinity of Mobility, Social Media and Advanced Analytics, there is hardly a corner of our society that is not being driven to embrace change. Nonetheless, most organisations fail to do so. Instead they continue to try to wring value out of old technologies, old processes, old rules and old constraints as a matter of course, comfort and convenience.
The path of least resistance and change is seductive to those with a vested interest in the present.