Nothing New Under the Sun
Change is in the air. It fills us with excitement. Or trepidation.
It is sad that we should meet only thus at the ending. For the world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, and I smell it in the air. I do not think we shall meet again.
– Treebeard, to Galadriel and Celeborn
– “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien
Is anyone not aware of the changes we are facing today? The global economy. A new national leadership. And all the new modes of communication in our web-enabled world – blogs, tweets, profiles and podcasts.
In Software Development, my department, we are busy with “new” projects. I sometimes find myself wondering, “Will this be really cool when we’re done?” or “What unexpected challenge will I have to face next?” or “How will I get from here to there?” But wait a moment, none of this is really “new”.
Even in the midst of a violent sea change, it is good to remember that most really important things will remain the same. I want to take a look at a few of those.
Integrity – It all start and ends here. The etymology of the word indicates “wholeness,” “unity” or “soundness.” When things are changing around us, are we tempted to throw off constraints of legality, morality or even common sense? Having integrity means we have the ability to resist that temptation. We don’t crack under pressure, we remain whole.
Creativity – It is the mark of every successful individual or operation. It is how we enter in to change, and an essential part of how we grow. We all have something unique to contribute.
Risk Assessment – Another way of saying “don’t gamble too much.” There is risk with every change, and there is tremendous risk in resisting the change around us. (Of course, ignoring it is likely to be fatal!) Resisting change may be holding a steady course to get to a goal we’ve set, or it may be a defensive move to prevent loss of something valuable. The decision to resist, influence, or go along with change should reflect our values and goals. It requires solid information.
Stick to the Facts – Look around you and you’ll see a lot of emotional response to change. There can be excitement, or there can be terror. Some will say “crisis” and others will say “opportunity.” While a good leader will anticipate and try to shape the emotions of her followers, she knows that emotions are a really poor drive for constructive long-term decisions-making. What takes years and years to build up can be destroyed in moments by impulsive action. Be sure to stop, look, and listen – check your facts.
Past Performance – All of us, if we are fortunate, are part of a team navigating the changing world together. We depend on others, and others depend on us. And those we depend on most should have a track record, in peaceful times and in tumultuous times. We respect our grandparents and great-grandparents who survived the Great Depression and the World Wars, and built up the foundations of our modern society. Likewise, we should know the history of those we travel with today. In a society where everything young and new gets the accolades, it is perilous to forget those older and more established people and principles which got us where we are today, and can take us into the future.
Even when everything is changing, it really stays the same. The challenges we face have been met and overcome (or sometimes not) before, in some form. King Solomon of ancient Israel said it this way:
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
In summary, I’m advising you not to just follow the trends in changing times. Adjust to change with deliberation. Maintain your integrity. And whenever possible, lead the change.
We at OneUpWeb hope you noticed the change to our website last month. We’re making these changes and others so we can continue to lead in the Digital Marketing arena. But most of what we do, and who we are, will be the same. You can count on it.