High Performing Business – Technology – Change Process
Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT
The previous post on shifting from being super frustrated with the technology in my life to becoming delighted with it is all about change management (and learning). I was thinking about how technology changed during my grandmother’s life. She was born in 1900, at home. The family did not have a car at that time but had horses, wagons, and sleds to get around (she lived in Northern Quebec). When cleaning out my parents home a few years back, we found letters she and my grandfather exchanged when he emigrated to Rhode Island in his mid – 20’s. She joined him several years later – most likely traveling by train to get into America. She moved into her lifelong home in her early 30’s where she lived for the next fifty years – never learning how to drive (or speak English) – and she was an educated woman having gone to college and been an elementary school teacher before coming to America. The family had a car in the late 30’s as there are pictures of my mother as a child by the family’s car. I remember watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon on her black and white TV when I was 7. As far as I can remember, she had the same phone in her hallway the twenty years I knew her. I remember her being very excited when I was a teenager and she got an automatic dishwasher – she would push it across the kitchen and hook it up to the sink faucet. I’m pretty sure she never flew anywhere on a plane as she didn’t like traveling all that far from home. Yes she did experience some fairly significant technological changes in her lifetime – the introduction of the automobile, TV, telephone, space exploration, and the upgrading of kitchen appliances, and a mass migration of people moving from generational homes to live in another country. I don’t want to down play the technical changes the people of her generation experienced. But what is different for us now is how quickly the technology we use day in and day out changes.
I heard something years back that children are born with the ability to use the technology of the time they are born into. This is why kids seem to be more adept at programming their smart phones then older adults. This makes sense too as it was very easy for me to learn how to drive. Unlike my grandmother who was born at home and did not even see a car until her teen years, I was born in a hospital. I grew up being in the car from the get go as my parents had to take me home from where I was born in the family car. So it was a very easy thing for me to learn how to drive – I was sensorily calibrated for it. My grandmother was not. Just like kids born today are sensorily calibrated for all the communications technologies, but for those of us who are older – it takes a more concentrated effort to learn and adapt to new technologies. Yet is is possible and can even be fun – but it depends on how you learn to manage all the technology changes.
Changing technology is just a fact of life these days. Unlike my grandmother who learned how to use the phone in her hall once and then used it for the next 30 years, just yesterday I updated another new operating system on my Iphone 6s – it was the second upgrade this year. I was a late adopter of the Iphone 6 as I was happy with my Iphone 5 until I dropped it in the water on vacation. But learning how to use new technology is something I have done almost every single day since I got my first computer in the late ’80’s . I’m very good at technology change because it’s a learned skill to make these technical changes. But I still have to monitor and adjust my attitude to change from time to time.
I’ve found for me there are two paths in the technology change process – one path I call the “bitter” path and the other path I call the “better” path. Both of these path’s start out in the same place. First I realize I am required to make a change – whether it be to upgrade a technology that is no longer being supported or to adopt a new technology as a way to in some way continue to function in today’s society (like going from a flip phone to a smart phone). The first step is denying I even need to make the change. Sometimes I go through this denial phase quicker then others. Next comes the anger, frustration or sadness phase – this is where I get upset in varying ways and degrees I am required to make the change. Then this is where the path’s separate. On the bitter path, it’s one of initial resignation -“well I guess I have to.” Then I land in the resentment zone – “I really wish I could have continued to use Window’s 95 – why do they have to keep changing that?” On the better path, I learn to accept the change – “I guess this will be okay.” Then I move into delight (this was the topic of yesterday’s blog) – where I learn all the ways this new technology is in fact making my life better.
I do sometimes find myself moving back and forth from the bitter to the better path – especially when I make a conscious choice to be on the better not the bitter path. My abilities to change fast with technology has translated into other areas of my life. I change physical locations fast as well – two months ago I put the Portland Cheetah Office building on the market for sale during a huge seller’s market. Today I’m back in a office in Nevada that I was trying to sell for three years. It was empty. Two weeks ago we moved from the Portland Office to the Northern Nevada Office. And after just two weeks of moving back in here, it looks like we’ve been here for years. At Cheetah, we also launch new products fast too – we also decided two months ago to offer a virtual live version of our top selling Cheetah Exam Prep for the PMP. Today we are on day two of the initial launch – having created the whole technology approach to do so in under two months (and while we werein the process of moving our office from Oregon to Nevada). These two changes made so much sense and were relatively easy (if not a lot of manual labor). So it’s been effortless to stay on the better path of the change process.
I’ve found to stay on the better path of the change process, it very much helps being able to learn fast. This is why I got into the business of accelerated learning two decades ago. I found the faster I can learn, the quicker I can adopt new skills (not just technologies) that can in fact make my life better, quicker. For me, the upside of all this technological change and being able to adapt to it is an enhanced ability to better handle all changes of life. As I’ve aged and experienced some of the standarad changes in life I was not all that happy with at the time (mother passing away, relationships ending, kids growing up and moving out, health challenges, losing friends & jobs, etc), my skills at staying on the better path when making technological changes has helped me stay off the bitter path of resignation and resentment for these other life changes as well.
If you want to learn how to stay on the better path too, learn how to learn faster and be happier – take Cheetah’s new 30 hour online Happiness Project Class.