Change threatens the status quo of our comfort zone. It questions what we take for granted and threatens to expose that which we hope to hide.
The threat of AI is that it implies that how we do a lot of what we do will need to change. We will need to upskill, adapt and grow.
Change means growth
Change is also how we grow, progress and adapt. It’s how we aim for the stars when we plot our careers, our learning path or our self-development.
Sea changes like this AI explosion will always drive us to adapt and grow.
The best business example of this is automated teller machines (ATMs). While in the short term, many tellers lost their jobs, that position is now a better paid job requiring better educated people. In effect, it got an upgrade.
Whose change is it anyway?
The difference between resisting and embracing change seems to lie in our ideas of who is in charge of that change.
When it is OUR change, our goals or desire, we happily embrace it, running toward the unfamiliar with arms wide and eyes open wider.
When we feel that the agenda of another is being imposed on us via changes that will definitely interfere with our own plans, we dig in our heels and resist with all our might. Here, the relative merits of the change are irrelevant. We don’t like it.
This resistance (to quote Star Trek) is futile. Change is inevitable.
When we feel that the agenda of another is being imposed on us via changes that will definitely interfere with our own plans, we dig in our heels and resist with all our might. Here, the relative merits of the change are irrelevant. We don’t like it
Getting comfortable with change
We don’t live in a perfectly controlled laboratory environment and technology has an impact on every facet of our existence … and we cannot even measure the rate of change of technology.
So how do you get comfortable with change? How do you accept that inevitable change with the same enthusiasm as your own plans for a different future?
Step 1: Accept change
If change truly is inevitable, all our resistance is doing is burning gas that could be better used adapting.
Change your story about the change from one of victimhood (this is being done to me) to one of impersonal truth (this is happening) and then even perhaps into ‘this is what I am going to do with this’.
Notice: You don’t have to LIKE the change. Just accept it.
Once you have done this, you can start thinking about your next steps.
Change your story about the change from one of victimhood (this is being done to me) to one of impersonal truth (this is happening) and then even perhaps into ‘this is what I am going to do with this’
Step 2: Release judgement
Human beings are notoriously bad at predicting the future. Let go of your opinions as to the merits or faults of the change and look right at it for what it really is: a phenomenon that is neither good nor evil, but simply is.
As yourself, where is this going? How does it work? How is this related to other things that are happening in my world right now?
When we settle on a judgement, we will literally not SEE alternative explanations. We become blind to them. It is very important to not settle, to hold the new in soft hands and get a good look without forming any opinions.
Step 3: Ask ‘what if…?’
Once you’ve accepted the existence of the change, it’s time to be playful and experimental with the idea of it.
If you were in total control of this, what would you do next? What if this made you redundant, what would that look like? What if this actually made your job easier, how would you spend the energy?
‘What if?’ gives us licence to ignore our opinions and judgement and step into a fantasy world where anything goes.
And, like children playing, when anything goes, we will often conceive and play with ideas that we would normally not dare to consider.
This is where the magic happens.
Change is inevitable. We don’t yet know exactly how or how much AI is going to impact jobs and industries. But it is safe to assume that it will and that the change will continue to spread, like ripples in a pond, across the working world
Step 4: Seek connections
Nothing comes from nowhere. What is this change connected to? Where did it come from? Can you find the causal chain? And then, once you have that, where, logically speaking, is it going?
As you start doing this, you might start to notice connections between what your pattern seeking is now doing with what your ‘What if’ thinking in step 3 was doing. This is a good thing. If you don’t, it’s okay, keep going.
When seeking connections, do not stay in your area of expertise, relate the change to what you’ve read, or seen on TV or heard as gossip in the canteen… stretch… reach… and join dots.
Step 5: Experiment
Now, it’s time to start taking action.
You’ve done a whole bunch of thought experiments, joined up lots of dots and it’s time to test some of those ideas out; to take them for a spin.
You don’t need to tell anyone what you’re doing. You don’t even need to admit it yourself, but you MUST take these thoughts to action, otherwise they will remain forever alien and just theories.
Joining the inner circle of change
Once you’ve done this, you now have hard experiences and observations of what working with the change means, you are now part of the inner circle.
Change is inevitable. We don’t yet know exactly how or how much AI is going to impact jobs and industries. But it is safe to assume that it will and that the change will continue to spread, like ripples in a pond, across the working world.
These five steps are designed to help you get comfortable with that inevitability in a measured fashion while avoiding overwhelm.
We all change all the time.
Remember that next time external forces threaten to derail your status quo.
You’ve got this.
If you enjoyed this, read: HR strikes back: How AI will augment HR