why change is the new normal

I had the pleasure of listening to and be outraged by a cleric who opened his sermon “…over the course of several millennia, nothing has really changed, there has been no progress that is meaningful and man faces the same challenges today as he always has”

The pleasure came from having such a provocative statement shake the way I think (always good for the soul) – and then compounded from a most unexpected source – in a small face to face meeting, me and about 12 other folks and Steve Ballmer where the prevailing complaint to him was “Microsoft is exhausting to work for because of the rate of change”. Steve pushed back on that with an argument that computer’s still operate in binary, the web is still HTML and the internet runs on TCP/IP same as it did 20 years ago and it was at this point I began to see the truth of the cleric’s point of view.

why change is the new normal (c) 2011 James StanbridgeIt is not really change that exhausts us, is is the shrinking, ever shorter attention spans and the need to be agile that is hard to keep pace with but accepting that really nothing significant has changed at all will keep you sane.

These then are the tenets of change as I have discovered:

  • Change is a label for a thing called opportunity. Opportunities multiply as they are seized
  • Nothing ever changes, except the label
  • Yesterday you needed for yourself and your tribe to be fed, be healthy, to prosper, to serve purpose and to enjoy one another. You’ll need that tomorrow, come what may.
  • Change the method (label) often – but shoot for the same result all the time
  • Einstein is still right – The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results (change the method)

The core message of this post, along with the others this week must surely be that you cannot spend too much time in thinking about “what the result you are looking for?” Stay focused, prioritised on this and the changes of label or method you choose to achieve it.

I for one would not want to roll back the clock or technical progress where I was not as intimately connected to the world as I currently feel thanks to twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. – the price I have to pay is the attention span I can have for such an enormous constituency and fluid change of agenda – but I have found ways to take energy from it and not just become drained by it. The secret is to jump in, Go! start now.

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And just in case you need more evidence of the changes (in this case over the past 50 years): http://www.ted.com/talks/roger_ebert_remaking_my_voice.html

4 thoughts on “why change is the new normal

    • and rather well if I may say! I got your updates (or more importantly a prompt to go read your updates) from multiple sources including LinkedIn, email and my own Mother 🙂

      Great posts too – you write so well!


  1. Once Upon a Time, There was a Man called James. I was introduced to James a few years ago. I’ve never actually met James, we are, what I guess can be described as in these modern times, Virtual Friends.

    So why am I blogging about James? Because he is one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met. It’s James’s birthday this week and I thought it only right that I stop and take time out to thank a remarkable man.

    I was introduced to James as I was going through an incredibly hard time, both personally and professionally, and James offered to be my business mentor. The idea was that we would have a call once a week and he would advise me on next steps for my career. What started off being a means to a career change, became an incredible life-changing friend.

    I believe James is aware that he gives incredible, practical business advice. He is generous with his time, he is innovative with his thoughts and he is an incredibly forward-thinking business genius. What I think that James is less self-aware off is his ability to inject you with self-belief, his ability to fill you with pride in your skill set and his gentle, yet strict encouragement to move you forward towards achieving your goals.

    James started by gathering my business goals and spent weeks with hourly sessions to listen carefully to me, then setting me homework and tasks to encourage me to drive myself forward. As time progressed, I also shared some of my personal woes with James and I can honestly say that he changed the path of my life, not just my professional goals, forever.

    So James, I don’t want to go on and on, but thank you. Thank you for being the most incredible business person I have ever had the joy to work with, thank you for your life-changing advice, your endless patience and enthusiasm, for helping me to believe in myself and for being my friend.

    If you ever have an opportunity to work with James or have a moment to check out his blog, jump at the chance. His advice, patience, time, enthusiasm and friendship will drive your life to heights you never thought you would reach.

    Happy Birthday James.


    • Charly, you are so welcome. I often tell people in coaching and mentoring sessions that it is critical to their success that they identify people around them that are *sources* of energy, mojo. It’s easy to become drained and tired if you don’t deliberately connect to those souls that inspire and give you a lift. You Charly, are one of those people that never fails to re-energise me – you are superstar, sometimes a hidden gem – but a total diamond non-the-less!


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