“Modern business is pure chaos but those who adapt will succeed.” These words on the cover of Fast Company magazine (February 2012) introduce an upbeat article about the highly adaptable people who thrive on change and embrace the chaos that surrounds us.
The pace of change in our culture is accelerating even as our visibility about the future is declining, writes Fast Company editor Robert Safian. Any business (and presumably any academic institution, profession, or leader) that ignores these transformations “does so at its own peril… The next decade or two will be defined more by fluidity than by any new, settled paradigm.”
Generation flux is a multi-cultural, multi-generational group of people with a mind-set that “embraces instability, that tolerates—and even enjoys –recalibrating careers, business models, assumptions” and perhaps coaching or coaching approaches, leadership practices, and the way we lead worship or live our lives. “If ambiguity is high and adaptability is required, then you simply can’t afford to be sentimental about the past. Trying to replicate what worked yesterday only leaves you vulnerable…. The vast bulk of our institutions are not built for flux. Few traditional career tactics train us for an era where the most important skill is the ability to acquire new skills.”
Like me, you may resonate with much of this analysis even though it’s not as fresh as the author seems to think. I have friends who don’t have plans for the future; they assume that looking ahead is a waste of time when everything is changing. In contrast, our worlds are filled with people and institutions that appear oblivious to chaotic change, little interested in contemporary trends, proud of their inability to adapt and unaware of their growing irrelevance. But the care-free Generation Flux perspective that the magazine lauds is no solution. It’s a reactive mentality that seems like a little boat in the ocean, tossed by winds of change, without direction, without an anchor, without models, mentors or stability.
How do Christians keep anchored in what they believe to be true, committed to following Jesus? How do we keep abreast of rapid cultural change while we creatively engage and impact the culture rather than letting it toss us about?
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