Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Archive for the category “Adapting to change”

The overwhelming change you feel today is going to increase. Engage the change.

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com before they closed their doors.

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com before they closed their doors.

The massive volumes of change you see surrounding you everywhere you look isn’t going to stop. In fact the pace of change is going to increase.

Each of us have a choice. Either figure out how to cope with and embrace the change or ignore it.

The cost of ignoring massive change is that you and your organization will get left behind. That doesn’t just mean you will be a laggard as you continue doing next month what you did last year. Instead that means your organization will radically shrink and before you know it, will disappear.

The downsides are serious. There is an upside and it is exciting.

Four articles I’ve seen lately focus the mind. While these articles are written in either the accounting or church context, they also fully apply in the church and accounting context. They also apply to every individual and organization.

This article will be posted across all my blogs because it applies to all of them.

7/7 – Bill Sheridan at LinkedIn – Embrace change or resist it: Only one option is viable.

The odds are really high that tax preparation will be completely automated in the next two decades. Estimated odds are almost as high that both accounting and auditing will be fully automated.

Consider my business and my core tasks of auditing charities. There is a real possibility those types of audits could be heavily automated in 10 or 15 or 20 years. I am not old enough to bank on retiring before that massive change starts eating away the entire audit profession.

Automation will take over an increasing number of tasks. The world of tax, accounting, and audit will be affected. Mr. Sheridan explains the shelf life of education and experience we have is shrinking.

As the Maryland Association of CPAs routinely points out our learning needs to be greater than the rate of change; L>C is their formula.

Read more…

When we think through an issue far enough to develop a considered opinion, that gives us a bias that everyone else is wrong.

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Ponder the implications for how you look at the world:

When you have developed a perspective or opinion or conclusion on some issue after having thought through all the relevant factors, there is a serious danger that reaching such a conclusion leaves you thinking that anyone with a different perspective is incorrect.

If your carefully drawn, considered opinion is reasonable, then the inference is that other opinions aren’t reasonable.

Read more…

On learning to surf the waves of change

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

We need to figure out how to ‘surf’ the massive waves of changes surrounding us.

This discussion, cross-posted from my other blog Attestation Update, helps all of us get a picture of the massive amounts of change surrounding us and the huge waves of change that are getting closer.

3/24 – Tom Hood on LinkedIn – Why Accountants Must Learn How to Ride These Big Waves of Change – There are massive waves of change on the horizon. Risks of getting drowned are high for accountants and auditors.

We need to understand what those two comments mean and how to cope with the implications. Tom Hood’s article points toward those waves that are soon to crash down on our heads.

It’s a VUCA world

Major changes we are in can be summarized by that phrase: Read more…

More signs the North Dakota infrastructure is catching up


Photo by James Ulvog.

Photo by James Ulvog.

If you let an economy function, market forces will create pressures to smooth things out. The forces of supply and demand have an amazing ability to balance a temporarily unbalanced marketplace. Several recent articles illustrate this concept in North Dakota.

11/17 – Amy Dalrymple at Dickinson Press – Pipelines now outpacing trucks for gathering Bakken oil – After oil is pulled on the ground it needs to be moved from the well pad to either a rail-loading terminal where it leaves the state by rail or it gets moved to a major transmission pipeline where it leaves the state by pipe.

The oil is initially moved by either trucks or underground pipes.

The number of small gathering pipelines to carry oil away from the wells is finally large enough that more oil is moved by gathering pipelines than by trucks.

Read more…

I get the concept of radical changes in our near future. I am blind to see how it will affect my business. (Radical change #1)

We are in the midst of radical change. I’m writing this blog (Outrun Change) to sort out the change around us.

I get it in terms of tech change obliterating newspaper want ads, count of first class mail pieces for the Post Office, and devastation to bookstores (remember Borders?).

I totally get the concept that you can be your own book publisher with a cost of under $200 per title if you have the skill to use Adobe Acrobat along with Microsoft Excel and Word. Major publishers are dinosaurs.

Running your own digital publishing company? Been there. Done that. Three times. And publishing the Nook version is literally one extra click, one click, in the on-line production cycle.

Read more…

Great ways to make sure you are always unhappy

Jeff Haden surveys 7 Poisonous Beliefs That Make You Desperately Unhappy.

He suggests that if you are routinely unhappy, there might be some things inside you that are the cause. The good news is that you can change those drivers. If you recognize them and if you want to.

Here’s a few of his points I particularly enjoyed.

Read more…

Paperback books and e-books; more on the dispute between Hachette and Amazon

Guess what? Lowering the price on something means you can sell more of it and make more money.

That applies to paperbacks when they first came out and it applies to e-books today. Well, it actually applies to practically everything.

Know what else? Anyone who wants to publish a book can do so. Anyone. For astoundingly low cost. The publishing frontier is wide open. Thank you Amazon.

In August, Amazon sent an e-mail to people using their Kindle Direct Publishing service. (By the way, if you aren’t already a best seller and want to ever get your book published, you really, really ought to go the e-book route with KDP. It is awesome.)

Back to the e-mail.

Since it went out to tens or hundreds of thousands of people, I will take the liberty to quote it.

Some history: Read more…

When creativity isn’t needed

Seth Godin suggests we place boundaries on our creativity: Steal, don’t invent.

We don’t need to develop a new, innovative, out of the box email system.

Or payroll processing.

Or web design.

Read more…

You want to succeed in your career? Invest in yourself.

That’s the extended point made by Tony Nitti in a New Years’ post at Going Concern – This Year, Resolve to Finally Decide What You Want To Be When You Grow Up in Public Accounting.

This article is cross-posted from my other blog, Attestation Update. While the focus of the article is people working in public accounting, the point applies to every single person who has a job – invest in yourself.

Don’t rely on the networking, hand-shaking, going-out-for-drinks-after-work schmoozing, and drumming up new business to get where you want. (Those things are important in public accounting and many other fields.) Although you may have to get really good at those things, the first priority is to invest in your skills and knowledge.

Oh, as expected for any Going Concern post, there is a fair amount of naughty language and word pictures. Just letting you know.

Three superb comments: Read more…

A long term perspective on the turmoil and change we see around us – The best primer I’ve seen.

The two best articles I’ve read that explain the massive shifts we are seeing in the economy were from Walter Russell Mead back in June 2011. Those articles put much in perspective and give a hint at a way forward. They were foundational to me starting to focus on the radical change taking place all around us.

The Death of the American Dream I compares the painful transition away from family farms to a suburban home funded with a cheap mortgage and paid by working a life-time job. We are now transitioning away from the model that has been in place since everyone reading this was a child. It will be painful, just as the disappearance of the family farm was painful.

Read more…

Simple, Complicated, Complex, Chaotic – a way to make sense – part 4

Previous posts introduced the simple/complicated/complex/chaotic quadrants of the Cynefin Framework and discussed how that can be used to analyze development issues.

(This discussion is cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update. I’ll put them on this blog as well because the Cynefin Framework is quite helpful for understanding the messy world around us.)

Implications for economics

This framework has huge implications for discussions of economic issues. So many areas come to mind that are actually complex but we treat them as if they are complicated.

Take just one issue – minimum wage.

If this is a complicated issue, then to make life better for people, we can just increase the minimum wage. Go to $8. Maybe $10.

Read more…

Simple, Complicated, Complex, Chaotic – a way to make sense – part 3

Previous posts introduced the Cynefin framework and described a bit of how it helps make sense.

Where it gets messy

Distinguishing between the complicated and complex quadrants is the biggest challenge.

As I ponder the Cynefin framework, I realize that distinction is the cause of many heated differences of opinion.

(This series of articles is cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update. I’ll put them on this blog as well because the Cynefin Framework is quite helpful for understanding the messy world around us.)

It is also the cause of many unintended consequences. I’ve talked about that a lot on my blogs.

Applying the solutions from the complicated quadrant to issues in the complex quadrant is the conceptual cause of most of the harm from those unintended consequences.

Read more…

How would you like to have this problem: labor force in your city grows 2.58% per month. Yes, over 2%. Per month. For three years. And no end of growth in sight.

That’s the calculation from Dr. David Flynn, writing at the Say Anything Blog: Williston Labor Force May Soon Be Larger Than Grand Forks.

He calculates a 2.58% growth per month over the last three years in Williston. Here are the raw numbers:

In August 2010 the labor force in Williston was 18,819, and by August 2013 it increased to 47,060.

How do you cope with that kind of growth. You can’t. No community can.

Read more…

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

That quote from George Bernard Shaw is also the title of a post pondering its meaning at Philosiblog.

The focus of the discussion is we must be willing to change our mind, especially our opinion of ourselves, if we are going to make progress toward the goals we value.

Consider this: Read more…

Simple, Complicated, Complex, Chaotic – a way to make sense – part 2

Previous post introduced the four quadrants of the Cynefin Framework: simple, complicated, complex, and chaotic.

One of the major implications of the framework is to highlight that the world is not neatly ordered.

In addition, leadership styles need to change based on the nature of the situation.

(This series of articles is cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update. I’ll put them on this blog as well because the Cynefin Framework is quite helpful for understanding the messy world around us.)


The boundaries in moving between quadrants, from simple to complicated to complex to chaotic, are fuzzy. Situations can blend from one to another.

Read more…

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