The age of unpredictability or our VUCA – Volotile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous – marketplace of incessant ‘disruption’ is alien to the way we are programmed to behave at work and get things done. You don’t have to be a Neuroscientist to work that out.
I am not interested in revisiting this ‘problem’ as I don’t see it as a problem – in fact I don’t SEE anything as a problem – merely a distortion, which in effect is identifying a need to adjust or adapt. Everything I do with my work I framed this way – eventually. When I meet with clients I first have to engage in the ‘problem’ discussion – and luckily for me most of my clients are leading edge thinkers and also ‘see’ that the problem is a distortion highlighting the requirement to make an adjustment. However they have peers and managers who generally see things more as a problem and have passed this to my contacts to solve, and together we do.
What our VUCA world has done is taken away ‘time’. We used to be able to deal with things and work through ‘problems’ in the past much more easily than we can today because we had time to think things through. Now we don’t, as the level of demands placed on us to ‘do things’ in any one moment are ridiculous. Do we take a step back from these demands and calmly work through each demand at a time? NO. We revert to habit and our programming when faced with a request to do something at work – and respond, or attempt to respond, which simply fails – period.
You see the problem is not the amount of stuff, or the VUCA world, or the disruption or anything external to us – it never is. The problem is how ‘we react and ‘perceive’ the situation. We are programmed to ‘respond’ and attend to requests or things that come our way. You can probably see why email has been demonised so much – it is once again not the ’email’ that is the ‘problem’ – it is the CC’ing in of people and other practices where ’email requests’ are not requests at all but rather noise – but to our ever vigilant habit of responding – we can’t help ourselves but to perceive these as requests for our attention.
What has happened as a result of failing to adjust and adapt our ingrained ‘way of working habits’ years and years ago, is that new stuff that comes on to our horizon incessantly, is put into the OMG more things to do bucket. Change is on the top of the OMG list because not only is there an expectation to respond – but an expectation or even a demand to change the way we do something. What is required is a shift or adjustment in how people work that is aligned to a VUCA world rather than reverting to habits that no longer work. This is a major factor contributing to the root cause of resistance to change. We will look at more factors contributing to change ‘resistance’ next time.