When I described our most recent restructuring plan to a friend – a seasoned and successful financial professional - he was certain we must have hired McKinsey & Co. to help us think things through. Wrong. It was Erika Andersen. Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group

Mar
7

Presto Change-o

I’ve decided that one key skill for surviving and thriving in this century is the ability to turn on a dime.  That is, to be comfortable with rapid and complete state changes.

For instance, I just went from laying on a Caribbean beach with my darling husband, doing absolutely nothing, no responsibilities other than enjoying his company and avoiding a sunburn to – BOOM – standing in a big corporate meeting room outside of DC, facilitating a session with 50 people, none of whom I’d ever met, about the digital future of their company.

Different on almost every level – and with very little ‘shift time’ in between.  This kind of rapid alteration of circumstance and focus is specific to our modern age.  At any time in human history up until the past hundred years or so, it would have taken me days or weeks even to travel from Jamaica to DC.  I would have had lots of time to make the physical, mental and emotional changes required.

And until this past century or so, most people’s responsibilities and activities were more ‘all of a piece’ and less changing, as well; you were a farmer, or a housewife,  or a shopkeeper, or a person of wealth and leisure – and that was what you did most all the time.

Now we all play lots of different roles: a farmer can also be a housewife AND a person of wealth and leisure.  In fact, one of the people on the beach with me in Jamaica was Sandy, a row-crop farmer and housewife from North Dakota, who was spending a week doing the same thing I was doing – and what in earlier times would only be done by people of wealth and leisure.

We haven’t had more than blink of time, evolutionarily speaking, to accommodate ourselves to these new possibilities.  No wonder we often feel tired, overwhelmed and confused.

I suspect the best way to thrive in this new world is to have a really strong sense of who you are at your core.  Who are you that doesn’t change, no matter where you are, what you’re doing, or who you’re with?  If you’re clear about that, then you can dance through the changes…

So, how would you answer that question?



About Erika Andersen

Over the past 30 years, Erika has developed a reputation for creating approaches to learning and business-building that are custom tailored to her clients’ challenges, goals, and culture.
Read More...

Visit Erika's Forbes.com Blog


Latest tweets

  • Loading tweets...


Be Bad First

Get Good at Things FAST to Stay Ready for the Future
Learn More...

Leading So People Will Follow

Proven leadership framework that creates loyalty, commitment and results.
Learn More...

Being Strategic

Plan for Success; Out-think Your Competitors; Stay Ahead of Change
Learn More...

Growing Great Employees

Turning Ordinary People into Extraordinary Performers
Learn More...