Robots already vacuum the floors in lots of people’s homes. They mow lawns. They deliver things in some cities. It looks weird and futuristic until it somehow looks normal and commonplace. We rarely see the “future” when it’s already here.
We Make the Future Invisible Because We Want Solid Ground
I’ve spent a lot of my career on the other side of the hill from where most people are doing business. When people were just getting comfortable with fax orders, I was seeing that this web thing might be more important. When people built their first websites, I saw that tools like Twitter would be a powerful opportunity to reach out and connect with people in a better way. It’s not at ALL that I’m smarter. It’s that I’m willing (maybe even primed) to see how to slot “what’s next” into “what we do right now.” In some ways, that’s because I’m willing to throw away what I have right now in any aspect of my business.
The Myth of Solid Ground
The number one professional “complaint” I hear right now when advocating for a new strategy or the adoption of a new technology is this: “But I just got good at doing X.” It’s at this moment as a business advisor that I often have to gently say, “Doing X isn’t your core business. It’s a tool to earn you more customers. Be willing to throw it out.”
Ooh that bugs people.
We humans love to absorb something new, process it, and then forget about it. We love to master skills and then do nothing more with that skill. It’s like there’s a yellow “unprocessed” status, then a “green” status when we figure something out, and then we set it to “grey” and “this is how it will always be” status. Does that resonate with you? But, that’s the challenge.
Everything changes. That’s the big issue. The definition for “LIFE” even says “…including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.”
Continual change IS PART OF THE DEFINITION OF LIFE!
Movement is Life. Nothing is Permanent. There is No Solid Ground.
Accept that robots are here. Accept that people are shifting from desktops to laptops to mobile to possibly “computerless” interactions. (Things like Alexa, Google Home, etc.)
Be open to the perception that almost every job that exists today might likely shift with the advent of artificial intelligence, and before that, simply from changes that technology and tools bring to the world around us.
Self-driving cars mean that people won’t make as many impulse stops, but it also means they’ll increase their browsing/screen/entertainment/learning/shopping time even more than now (which is at 6 hours a day).
Hold Onto ONLY The “Thing”
Whatever it is that constitutes your primary pursuit, that’s how you need to keep aligning your business efforts. The “how” of this will likely change a lot. Even the “what.” If anything, focus mostly on the “who.” Who are you serving? What do they need right now? What else do they need? What’s coming along that will make what I do for them unnecessary? Is there something else I can learn to do to replace that?
It’s not scary, the lack of solid ground. It’s just we need a shift in YOUR efforts. From “mastery” to “continual learning.” People will need people for quite some time to come. You have a role in helping others. It’s just the mechanics and other details that will likely change a lot in the coming years. (It’s already happening, but change is so hard to perceive until it’s fully in place.)
Where are you holding on a little too tightly to your “solid ground?”
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