How adaptable are you?

The landscape of the world today is so very different than it was thirty years ago. When I was a kid the world seemed to be pretty stagnant. Granted, there were new inventions and mechanization of manufacturing plants. In the 70’s it was considered a big thing to have a plant that robotic equipment was killing the cows as well as milking them. Someone turned up the speed on the treadmill though. The lazy aren’t keeping up. It’s becoming a scene from a old “I love Lucy” re-run.

What’s going on? Computers are changing our lives as everybody knows. This train is on the express lane and if you’re not at the stop on time you’re getting left. What can you do? How can you get on the train like those people that are leisurely walking on instead of the guy running at full stride and slamming against the door just as it closes? Easy.

Be adaptable.

Sounds simple enough but I’ve found that it’s just changing the though processes of the people I have to work with. In my project management role I have to build teams and make people believe that once this new software is put in that their day will be more productive. How do I do that? Make people believe in an abstract not the concrete. Say for example, I teach one group of people the concepts of word processing and the other group Microsoft Word. The first group can go to any word processor and figure out where the features they need are and move on. The second set will look for some of the exact features that Microsoft told you were necessary and be stuck. This first group will be able to sit in front of any word processor and soon be proficient at any job they go to.

The word processing example was really a mild one because they are pretty easy to use however, imagine other technologies? This teaches people to be adaptable. To never think they are old dogs that have to learn new tricks. Thats an uphill battle. However, when I watch 70 year old ladies using computers and figuring out how to use the new software that they’ve been given whereas a 30 year old complains everyday about the new software they’re being migrated to I can only think of the train analogy. The 70 year old lady is already sitting on the train knitting while the 30 year old runs to catch the door of life.

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