If I hear yet another speaker quote Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity as ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’, I shall scream. Not because it’s a statement I disagree with, more because it is used ‘over and over again’.
Interestingly Einstein assumed that the Universe was static! The Expansion Paradigm developed by Edwin Hubble proved that the Universe is actually constantly expanding, which led Einstein to concede that assuming the Universe remained constant was perhaps his biggest blunder. The only real constant is change itself.
Unfortunately people’s desire to maintain equilibrium and have a high degree of certainty is strong. Listen to those sages in every organisation who, for as long as I’ve drawn a pay packet, have uttered; ‘It’s not as good as it used to be, we’re always changing things, we need a period of stability…’. The second constant is that change is uncertain.
If change is inevitable but we naturally hang on to what we know because the alternative is ‘the unknown’, what will force us to move? The Big Bang was the violent starting point (the singularity) for our constantly changing Universe, thus what is also certain is that any behavioural change also requires a trigger point. That moment when we become ready to accept that maybe, just maybe, we could do something different. We’ve reached the point at which it will only take a ‘nudge’ to set us in motion.
So far, it seems, all beyond our control. Change happens, there will be a trigger point and the results will be uncertain. It is how we perceive this inevitability that makes the difference, which makes this a truly exciting time. Everyone accepts that whatever our organisation, there will be change; the economy has provided the nudge. Now leaders can design organisations, encourage mindsets and create processes which will embrace the sentiment behind Einstein’s oft plagiarised words. But beware:
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” Albert Einstein
Old habits die hard.
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