Shuffling through moldering overheads, I found an old presentation I used to do called, “Strategies for Reinventing Yourself.” It began with a recitation from perennial management guru, Tom Peters. I’ve lost the citation, I’m afraid, but since this is ancient history, circa 1993, it probably came from a book, speech or article of his around the time of Re-Imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age. Whether or not you are a fan of Peters, listen to this:
We are coping with the biggest economic change in two centuries. That’s self-evident. But what does it mean?
It means that to be scared out of one’s wits is sensible. To be certain of anything is suicidal.…
1. Don’t worry if you’re feeling nuts. In fact, worry if you are not. There are no certain answers. We don’t even know what questions to ask.
2. Don’t even think of hiding. There’s no such thing as insurance against bicentennial change. Overall, Americans’ increasing demands to be protected against any and all untoward events amounts to an enormous drag on our ability to adapt to this tectonic shift.
3. Reinvent yourself. Corporations and government must be transformed. And so must you and I. The race will go to the curious, the slightly mad, those with an unsated passion for learning and daredeviltry.
4. Remind yourself that you’re in the midst of something really big. Maybe that, in and of itself, will make us a little more receptive to the next cataclysmic disruption that will surely come our way.
I had to smile. I guess we’ve been with this longer than I thought. Plus Ã§a change, plus la mÃªme chose.
Gosh. Thanks for the reminder. I suppose we have encountered “the next cataclysmic disruption.”
Inspiring insights (!), but perhaps not as ancient as you imagine. His Re-imagine! book came out in 2003, but that was still well before most of us were imagining the current cataclysmic disruptions.
My favorite example of change [not] was on the not-so-recent topic of information overload, shared by Paul Dourish at the CSCW 2006 conference:
Joe, thanks for the correction. My googling did not reveal a source for the exact words from Peters I’ve listed above, but I’m sure they are from Sept, 1993, not 2003. You are right that Re-Imagine! must not be the source. Loved the quotation from Barnaby Rich.
Dick, thanks for stopping by. I agree with you.
Nice work on perspective Dan. And Joe — thanks for the Rich quote. It is hard to measure what is “good” when all is abundant. Reminds me that I must listen to my heart to know what it good for me.
Found it! [Via googling for “unsated passion for learning and daredeviltry”]:
A Very Big Deal Indeed
Posted on September 03, 1993.
Mary: I like the way you expressed your view on goodness and abundance. My take on it — not sure if that’s what you intended — is that “if everything is ‘good’, it’s all background noise”. Indeed, I suppose it could be argued that scarcity is what creates [relative] value. I’ve been [re]thinking about abundance and scarcity amid the growing recession. Found a recent, interesting article on The Psychology of Abundance and Scarcity:
Wow! Thank you! You are a masterful googler — at least more masterful than me.
Mary, thanks for your comment, too. My own two cents is that what’s getting corrected right now is not abundance but excess. And while scarcity may play a positive role to some extent in the correction, my preferred direction is to redefine what we mean by abundance to be something closer to “sufficient.” As I understand it, the original meaning of the word, abundant, was something like “overflowing,” which by nature suggests excess, while the root of sufficient is more like “meeting the need of.” Abundance and scarcity represent polar ends of a spectrum, smacking of Western either/or thinking. Sufficient, to me, sounds closer to a natural state.