“There is no more delicate matter to take in hand, nor more dangerous to conduct, nor more doubtful in its success, than to be a leader in the introduction of changes.”
Change brings out the fear of the unknown in many. And nowhere is change more prevalent than in the ever-advancing field of technology. Businesses are constantly evaluating what tools they need to remain competitive in the marketplace – to adopt or to maintain the status quo.
These days the hot buzzword is BYOD. The current generation entering the workforce loves the idea of bringing your own devices in the enterprise space. The time/space continuum between personal and work has been steadily blending – bringing more concerns to the forefront.
New technology should not be feared simply due to the unknown. Alas, this is a challenge any new development has faced throughout the ages.
Socrates recognized that oral tradition was threatened by writing:“for this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves.”
Sounds not dissimilar from concerns some initially expressed as companies began using computers over manual files.
Elite clergy viewed Gutenberg’s printing press with utter disdain for the quality and care that was lost in translation when compared to the handwritten illuminated manuscripts adorning medieval libraries.
Sounds similar to protests some posed as companies transitioned to email from handwritten communication.
While the Internet and social interactions seem ubiquitous with business today, it wasn’t that long ago there was a healthy dose of skepticism:
- CNN.com (2005): Emails ‘hurt IQ more than pot’
- The Telegraph (2009): Twitter and Facebook could harm moral values, scientists warn
- Daily Mail (2009): How using Facebook could raise your risk of cancer
- Forbes (2013): Do Cell Phones Cause Brain Cancer? The Diehards Cling Desperately To Opinion
Perhaps the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was on to something when it posited,
“Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”
This is not to say we should blindly leap into every new technological option that crosses our path. There is a large differentiation between “that’s not the way we’ve always done it” and making and informed decision that something may not be right for your individual enterprise at this time.
Stay informed. Stay engaged. Don’t be afraid.