Diplomacy is the art of letting somebody else have your way.
– David Frost
I was fortunate to have an opportunity to listen to a ’15-minute’ address by a career diplomat who wanted to share his views of the challenges that large Organizations face in today’s digital world. His thrust was the organizational imperative is to adapt to the ever-changing world and ensure that the employees are geared up and open to accept the same.
Change has always been part of our lives but the pace of change has sharply increased and without the right tools to address this many employees end up feeling alienated with the ‘Top-Down’ missives that flow in the traditional Organizations. It can become overwhelming and many people complain about this amorphous miasma that impacts their daily lives and leaves them feeling breathless as they seem to be forever running on a treadmill to just keep their place and avoid falling off the machine.
Digital revolution has been truly enabling in promoting meritocracy and transparency. There is a constant churn to find more efficient and effective ways to do things. Everyone gets to see how other people live all over the social media and the youth,in particular, is keen on questioning status quo and the rather old ways of doing things. Communications have improved enormously and it takes a lot of discipline and effort to disconnect oneself even for a while as one fears losing out on some important information or experience. At the same time some good ‘ol horse sense has gone missing – people hate having to admit that they do not know the answer and yet often they are very pig-headed about consulting others and changing their minds if they had made a mistake.
In particular the middle-aged generation finds it the most difficult to change their old routines and adapt to new rules of the game. Learning may have been difficult and required a lot of effort and discipline but it is nowhere close to the pain of having to ‘unlearn’ the old rules that no longer seem to work. All kinds of mind blocks are at work – the most common being ego issues and the fear of the unknown.
And it is not small stuff like using a computer instead of a typewriter, an email instead of a letter. Instead it is the ability to leverage the new world that creeps into our lives in the most innocuous manner – am sure few would have heard about cloud computing, unified meeting, webex training, dropbox, encryption software, virtual meetings just ten years back. And all of this and much more is invading our working worlds without much ado.
But personal relationships matter all the more now than ever. You may be a great expert but people will not come along unless they know that you care and will help them bridge the gap. So some of the old routines of celebrating the smallest of occasions, having that leisurely team lunch on the last day of the week, spending quality time with family and recharging oneself by pursuing our passions are great stress busters.
Like the famous purportedly Chinese proverb –
‘May you live in exciting times!’
It can be a curse or it can be a boon. Our attitude and diligence will define our lives as there is really no stopping the new world from arriving.