• Ken Polotan

Stay In Your Comfort Zone. Not!

Let's face it: change is the only constant. 

Yet it seems that these days, we are experiencing hyper-change.  What used to take decades now takes a few years. Take technology, for example.  According to a McKinsey article, technology advancement is just one of four fundamental changes happening in our economy. I still remember eCommerce during its infancy.

Back then, most people thought the same way: there's no way I'm putting my credit card on the Internet. Fast forward to today: Amazon has almost managed to decimate your mom and pop stores but also big brick and mortar discount chains. In fact, we now pay with our phones using Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay. What's next? Pay with implants or retina scans?

Traditionalists. Boomers. Millenials.

There's also the notion that the workforce demographic is changing. The Traditionalists have retired. The Boomers are retiring en masse. And of course, The Millennials are becoming the majority of the workforce.  There's also the Gen X and Y crowd. And let's not forget globalization. It used to be that manufacturing businesses had all local players in the supply chain. Then we saw the emergence of offshoring, near-shoring, etc. These days, manufacturing is extremely fragmented.

As individuals, how do we cope? Change is usually not a welcome guest. Change brings forth the concept of the unknown. Change is painful. Change is scary. We prefer the status quo. We like the familiar. We seek to be comfortable. We tend to excel in the present.

And yet, the world now is in a state of constant flux. The business landscape is fraught with chaos and complexity. And disruption. Disruption is everywhere. What we now hold dear has disappeared or about to. And there's nothing we can do about it.

These days, I find myself reading a lot about what's going on in the world. Indeed, the earth has become one global village. There's always news about some event, even in the most far flung corners of the world.

As Strategy Practitioners, we are supposed to be at the cusp of leading and managing change. We're supposed to be highly informed about anything and everything that's going on in business, technology, design and management. We are valued for our perspective and by delivering actionable insights to our clients. It's not an easy task. The pressure is definitely on.

How do we all cope? Our mantra must be "learning agility".

We have to be in a state of flux ourselves. Our mandate is self-learning at a rapid rate, consuming information like sponges. Our mantra is "learning agility". This dynamism is no longer limited to us, so called dispensers of wisdom and actors of change. We all need to be dynamic, keen on learning new skills and open to novel ideas about the world, about people.

So, my advice to my team and the rest of the folks out there: let's not commit too much on the building the present. If today, we have acquired mastery in our jobs and skill sets, then it's time to move out of our comfort zone. Let's embrace being uncomfortable again.

True transformation and growth only happens outside our comfort zone.

© 2023 by Ken Polotan