Last month, I was on a speaking tour in Asia, where it was great to catch up with my former IBM team in Japan. This prompted me to reflect how global business has changed since I as posted overseas a quarter of a century ago; not just enabling technology, but terminology.
One of my core topics has been change. But it seems today’s ‘hot’ topic today is disruption? And over the last 20 years, there have been multiple variations on themes of transformation, reinvention, chaos management and paradigm shifts? Similar challenges but different labels.
And sometimes, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Fundamentals of success are timeless-and here’s what a client I spoke to in Sydney said last month about my presentation to a group of young IT professionals:
‘Thank you for being with me and my people. You triggered a lot of deep reflection…more than enough to last us through the year and beyond. I can see an invigorated and inspired team already. You’ve triggered a paradigm shift in their thinking, some more significant in others, but all moving us on to the transformation path.’
In Japan, I did a pro bono to a group of young female graduates about what it takes for a woman to succeed and the changing role of women, although the Professor of International Business labelled it as a ‘diversity’ lecture.
‘Thanks very much for giving a talk to students. It was inspiring and insightful-full of your professional and personal histories which the audience related to.’
In Palau, I simply took a short vacation with a friend who I attended business school with 30 years ago-and happened to meet with the President of Palau on the 16th commemoration of 9/11. I gave him a copy of Hope Happens, which was written after I was the keynote speaker to 1600 delegates at the World Airline Conference in Brisbane that fateful day, Now, some of my audiences weren’t even in school at the time!
But once again, most core principals are universal and timeless! Yes, change/disruption/transformation/shift etc etc is inevitable….but learning from change is optional.