If You Seek Progress, You Must Accept Change

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

26 July 2018

Change is not something that comes comfortably to humans. Before we start a new job, we spend hours worrying about details that won’t matter. When our software updates on our phone, we get frustrated because our routines are broken. Whole companies have been created to help other companies (and people) manage specific changes, like new software or new product lines. Change is something that will inevitably affect everyone. Why haven’t we evolved to better handle it?

I recently read an article on written by the former CEO of McDonald’s USA, Ed Rensi, about his feelings on order-taking kiosks coming to McDonalds. I wonder if Ed was this change-averse when phone companies found a better way to transfer calls and fired their operators. I wonder if he was worried about the bank tellers when ATMs were invented. Or how about the cashiers at my local Target? We’ve had self-checkout for years?

Humans evolve and advance. It’s what we do. To get our species forward, we must get out of our comfort zones. We must continue to progress. If the patrons of McDonalds were tired of getting their orders messed up and the kiosks provide them with a more accurate experience (and cost less to boot) aren’t they a CEO’s dream?  Perhaps Ed might feel differently if he were still holding that position.

Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies. (Robert Kennedy)

I recently listened to a TED talk that described using AI for diagnosing diseases. By developing a working AI algorithm, doctors can take photos on their cell phones to provide diagnoses. This idea could take years to flesh out, but the thought is spectacular. By detecting and diagnosing diseases such as liver or oral cancer early on, patients can be given a better chance of survival. Why would we ever shy away from progress that significant?

Change can be scary, but it is an essential part of our existence. Nothing that remains stagnant can progress. If it’s progress you seek, you’ll have to accept the change that drives it.