In times of change, don’t move too fast

rate of change DXC Blogs

Have you ever waited until everyone else has gotten off the train to see who is left behind and last to get off? Well I have.

If you’re pregnant, disabled, elderly, injured or you just like to take your time, you’ve probably realized this can be a wonderful thing to do. It makes you notice so much more.

You can see the men and women rushing a million miles an hour to get off the train and on to their next task. You can see those who missed their stop or spent time dawdling as they departed; those who pushed past everyone else without thinking — and, finally, those who helped others get off the train.

Some of us are forced to slow down like this and adopt a pace of change we are not necessarily comfortable with. But the experience can open our eyes to the way the world works and the way people do things differently, depending on their situation.

There is a poem called “Slow down, Mummy. You’re going too fast” by Rebekah Knight that reminds me of this experience:

“Slow down mummy, there is no need to rush,
Slow down mummy, what is all the fuss?
Slow down mummy, make yourself a cup of tea.
Slow down mummy, come and spend some time with me.
Slow down mummy, let’s put our boots on and go out for a walk,
let’s kick at piles of leaves, and smile and laugh and talk.
Slow down mummy, you look ever so tired,
come sit and snuggle under the duvet and rest with me a while.
Slow down mummy, those dirty dishes can wait,
Slow down mummy, lets have some fun, lets bake a cake!
Slow down mummy I know you work a lot,
but sometimes mummy, its nice when you just stop.
Sit with us a minute, & listen to our day, spend a cherished moment, because our childhood is not here to stay!”

It is helpful to slow down and notice more when we’re out of beat with those around us — and you know you’re out of synch when you start arguing with others and struggling in your interactions.

Just as the train example showed, helping others starts with slowing down. This is especially true when you work in the technology space with exponential, revolutionary game-changers. Sometimes you have to slow down to listen and watch before you can help others — including your clients — get off at the right stop.

A big change is happening for us right now as our company becomes DXC, a merger of minds, an energy explosion. It’s a huge opportunity for all of us — if we get the rate of change and adoption just right.

In these complex cases, success doesn’t always align with speed. If you put too much energy in, the train can pass by too quickly. But if you think about what you put in, consider the details and plan your time and energy with patience, mindfulness, knowledge, sharing, collaboration and innovation, what could be turmoil instead becomes an opportunity to change an organisation for the better.

Communication is key in this process. It makes everyone feel like they are included on the journey, even if they’re moving at different speeds. For instance, the visionaries, we know, will be way ahead already; the early adopters will come on board near the first stop, but the more careful among us will step on the train slowly, then help others do the same. Finally the laggards have the potential to slow us all down, but once you have them interested and invested, they will make more of an impact on your organisation than you thought possible.

As today’s emerging technologies get implemented around the world, they are becoming pivotal in the workplace. Enterprises now must manage the rate of change and adoption so these amazing technologies — things like the automated car or the new form of transportation called Hyperloop — don’t pass by without taking everyone along for the ride.

Those of us able to keep up with these technologies and the benefits they can bring to our organisations need to help others on the journey.

And as robotics, artificial intelligence and Machine Learning develop more and more each day, we need to make sure the next generation can question everything and make decisions in a cautionary manner. Their rate of change will certainly be much faster than we have experienced. We need to teach them that change is OK and a good thing, that change is part of evolution, of life; that every day we change.

The roles that my daughters will have when they join the workforce don’t even exist yet, and we can only dream of what they will do and how they will change the world. But to make this happen, we need to ensure that we can all keep up and that, as humans, we are not left behind by technology.

We need to ensure that our next generation is able to invent and innovate, so that if the Hyperloop express does pass us by, it’s because we’re on to the next big adventure.

So how do you get on and off the train? Do you prefer, transformational change or incremental change? Which one feels natural to you? Which one is right for the people around you? What makes you bolt to the door, and what makes you stop and take notice of the world around you? These are questions to consider as we embrace the change happening all around us now.


Sarah James was ANZ lead for Authentic Leadership in DXC and an advocate for DXC’s Women in Leadership and STEM. Prior to leaving DXC in September 2017, Sarah founded the Empowering Future Leaders blog and was its primary author. With over 15 years of experience in the world of IT, Sarah’s specialty is spatial information and includes integration on projects as diverse as mapping volcanoes in Hawaii to delivering high-tech police vehicles.

RELATED LINKS

To be or not to be … a woman in IT

How organizations can prepare for emerging tech — and why they should

Will a robot take my job? Not if I’m creative!

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