My father was a teacher for his entire career. Before a well-planned retirement he rose to be head of the faculty of applied science and computing at the local TAFE College.  His career was linear, steady and secure in every dimension.  

Perhaps partly due to my more adventurous nature but more likely due to the ongoing and massive global transformations of our time, my career has been the opposite.  

At each punctuation mark in my career the obligatory celebration with parents inevitably led to furrowed brows and worried looks wondering, “When is the boy going to settle down and get a steady job”.  By steady job of course they meant one like my fathers.

At 45 years old, having retired as the 43rd Premier of Tasmania two years ago, Sunday family lunches are still peppered with polite interrogations: “what is it you do again now David?”

When I tell them, somewhat obtusely, I help people, companies and governments to decode the future I am sure my Second World War born parents still wonder how Gen-X pay the mortgage.

It is becoming clear that my 10 year old son’s career will be just as baffling to me. The global transformations being wrought by the advent of ubiquitous connectivity and computing will have unimagined impacts on the rate of change in his career pathway.  That ubiquity is massively disrupting the way we create wealth and the way we communicate.

The change to the rate of change is truly astounding.

To remain competitive and to continue to innovate, enterprises will need to harness the new connected economy and the technological changes. To cope with this accelerating change, organisations and institutions need to find better ways of dealing with change and the impact it has on people.

As Jeff Kennett eloquently outlines in his earlier contribution to Management Insider – change can bring about outcomes that are often difficult to cope with at a personal level.  Even if we choose the change as I did when leaving politics there is still much to deal with.  If the change is thrust upon you without choice the personal ramifications can be profound. 

Now when I bump into former colleagues I endeavor, without sounding too much like a self-help book, to give them a sense of the road to happiness and well-being after the adrenaline and thrill of political power has been removed. 

My path through great change was in three simple steps that I recite to anyone going through change now.  

Take time to lick your wounds: Change hurts and there is pain that must be dealt with. 

Forgive those that have “done you wrong”: Accept that often with change comes those who behave in unethical, sometime spiteful, sometimes downright evil ways for their own perceived benefits. There is no point in harboring anger towards them.

Admit your mistakes to yourself: I don’t mean you have to go to proclaim those mistakes on the front page. I simply mean accept that often we don’t see change coming and we don’t make the right decisions until we have the benefit of hindsight to see what they were.  

The Hon. David Bartlett B.Sc. Grad.Dip.Bus. FAIM MACS was the Premier of Tasmania from 2008 – 2011.  His time is politics was characterised by bold and sometimes controversial reforms in education, technology, renewable energy, water and high value food production. 

David is currently Chairman and co-founder of high growth Australian IT Company AsdeqLabs.  He is a Director of Explor Consulting and of PlaceSpeak International.  He is also a Senior Advisor to the Nous Group and regular keynote speaker, helping his clients to decode the future.  

David has recently written an article for the Management Today magazine on companies becoming more flexible about employees working on their own devices which can be found here

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