Newsletter #467 – Generation Flux

“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?

Please leave a comment.

    • Mike
    • January 26th, 2012

    Seems like the standard answer that unchanging principles must be manifested in ever changing methods.

  1. Adaptation and change is the new constant. The problems of puzzles are very near the problems of life, our whole life is solving puzzles.

    Successful people learn how to solve puzzles and different types of puzzles.

    If you are hungry, you have to find something to eat. But everyday problems are very mixed – they’re not clear.

    Culture today does not want a destination. People now look for meaning in the journey itself.

    Cultural change is inevitable and resistance simple means irrelevance.

    So the problem to solve is not how do I get others to understand what I’m talking about… instead its how can I understand and relate to others best.

    The best problem solvers don’t have all the answers… they can ask all the right questions.

  2. How do christians keep anchored? At the risk of sounding tacky – First, by cutting their anchors from any fixed points offered by culture, society, habits. Then by walking closely with Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And by waiting for and relying on the daily and weekly and monthly guidance of the Holy Spirit, to whom no innovation and no change comes as a surprise. By anchoring all guidance in the Word of God.

    • Hope Hurlbut
    • January 28th, 2012

    We have a rock on which we can stand and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. No matter how chaotic things get, Jesus never changes, so we can always go to Him and the Word of God in prayer. He will assure us of His love, in spite of what is happening around us.

    Another thing is that the more chaotic life on earth becomes, the more we are aware that the coming back of our Lord is coming closer and closer. The Lord predicted these times at the end of the book of Daniel. None of it is a surprise to Him!

    • HERE IS A NOTE TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE RESPONDED. Thanks for taking the time to drop the rest of us a note. I am delinquent for not responding even though I have read everybody’s comments. I am out of town for the next few days but will get back with a few more specific replies when I return at the end of the week. Gary

    • Tebogo Lekhehle
    • January 30th, 2012

    In Jesus’ era there had been challenges, post that era, there was challenges as well. There will always be challenges for every generation. But, the one thing that does not change is what& who we are in the sight of God and remaining fixed on our source will help us survive. And trying to pair one’s self with generational flux can lead to a disfunctional life. Aim according to where you are rooted because aiming for sea life (as I take to be the case for aimless folks) whereas you are in actual fact an earth kind will end in disaster

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