Two articles got me thinking this week. One, by former APA president James Bray discusses “The Future of Psychology Practice and Science” (American Psychologist July-August 2010). The other, “Are you Ignoring Trends That Could Shake Up Your Business?” in Harvard Business Review (July-August). Both articles have broad application. Both assume that our work, careers and ministries can be shaped positively by trends, but derailed if we ignore cultural changes and continue with business as usual. Some observations:
- Identify trends that matter. Unlike passing fads, trends persist, impacting people’s perceptions, behaviors, relationships and lifestyles. For example, social networking and sophisticated hand-held cellular devices impact how people communicate, get and share information, learn, advertise, shop, make purchases, get entertainment, connect with counselors or even look for spiritual guidance.
- Consider how trends can impact your life or profession. Psychology provides an example. Psychological practice is being shaped by developments and research on the behavioral applications of cognitive neuroscience, climate change, genetic research, nonlinear methods, changing health-care, and evidence-based methods.
- Ignoring trends can give others opportunity to transform our industries, professions and training institutions. Harmful change can come when trends are understood and utilized by our competitors, rivals, other professions, insurance companies, accrediting agencies, or unscrupulous politicians.
- Keep positive. Certainly some trends are potentially harmful. But God put us on earth at a time of incredible change and opportunity. Be realistic but look for the bright side of present and emerging trends. Remember God is in control.
- Three features can help us respond to trends. Connections with others enable us to gauge whether trends are worth leveraging. Courage motivates us consider trends and sometimes make changes. Imagination provides the ability to conceive how any trend can be adapted or incorporated into existing ways of doing things. One example is Nike. The shoe maker adapted to a fitness-oriented, computer-connected generation by producing shoes that link with a runner’s iPod to give updates on speed, distance and calories burned – along with music.
Please leave a comment about how you deal with trends in your life, leadership, work or people building.