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3 Tips for Adapting to Change

Topics: Current Events

It’s no secret that we live in a fast-paced, ever-changing world, but as business educator, Eddie Obeng, points out, the speed of change is overtaking the speed of learning around the world. Find out how we, as business people, can learn to keep up in such a quickly advancing world.

ted talks eddie obeng

(Photo Credit: ToastyKen/Flickr)

If the world is changing at a rate comparable to the rate at which Eddie Obeng speaks in his TED Talks presentation (below), then we’re all in trouble. In his electrifying and eye-opening discussion about the realities of the world’s accelerated change and our near stagnant learning correlation, Obeng explains humorously how the business world has it all backwards when it comes to keeping up with change. 

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With the “density of the interaction of human beings” being so profound thanks to the internet and social media, the scale of “change” has gone from local to global almost overnight, making our old (and slow) way of thinking impractical. In essence, we are solving last year’s problems without truly considering the tomorrow’s issues. Or, in other words, if we are not considering future matters, then we’re wasting our time and energy because by the time the problem is solved, the answer will need to be tweaked to accommodate for the changes that occurred while the problem was being solved in the first place. 

Make sense? No. That’s exactly Obeng’s point. Our learning is overtaken by the rapidity of change, so there is a continuous cycle of reworking, modifying, and altering that has to take place to keep up with this crazy, quick-changing world that exists today.

So, how do people acclimate to this speed-of-light continuous progression? They begin by being forward-thinkers and learning how to do “failure” wisely. The old way of thinking was to not do things differently because it was a definite way to get fired. People were supposed to listen to their bosses and do as they were told in the workplace. However, that created a great deal of “dumb failure” that, ultimately, cost companies billions of dollars. Nowadays, “thinking outside the box” is encouraged and praised, as it should be, and Obeng describes this grand shift in thinking best here with these two examples:

“One (type of failure), you’re doing something that you should follow a procedure to, and it’s a very difficult thing, you’re sloppy, you get it wrong. How should you be treated? You should probably be fired. On the other hand, you’re doing something new, no one’s ever done before, you get it completely wrong. How should you be treated? Well, free pizzas! You should be treated better than the people who succeed. It’s called smart failure. Why? Because you can’t put it on our CV.”

Obeng wants to encourage business people to consider the following in their day-to-day careers:

1. Social media is a professional’s best friend, so they should use it to their advantage to expand their networks, enhance their professional knowledge, and reach out to other people and brands around the globe. Interaction and engagement through social media can be lifelines to vast opportunities in the business world, both as employers and employees.

2. Taking risks is a good thing, so do it more often… just be smart about it. The fear of failure holds many people back in their careers, but failure could also be the one thing that can advance a person’s career through the lessons learned along the way.

3. Don’t waste time. People cannot afford to waste time if they want to succeed in their careers because they will only be left behind. Meetings are one of the biggest waste of times when it comes to the workplace with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calculating that, “Unnecessary meetings cost U.S. businesses roughly $37 billion each year.” That’s a pretty penny, if you ask us. So, stop wasting time sitting in round-table meeting that takes up half of the day and gets little to nothing done, and instead try “walking meetings” out… they worked for Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, we don’t see why they wouldn’t work for other professionals and companies. You can read more about these surprisingly productive pede-conferences in this post

Take a look at Eddie Obeng’s TED Talk in its entirety below to help unveil the secrets to becoming a wiser, more forward-thinking professional in today’s ever-changing world.



Tell Us What You Think

What did you think of Eddie Obeng’s presentation? Do you feel left behind in your profession because of this overnight shift in the world? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments section below.

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Leah Arnold-Smeets
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