Chapter 3

The New Rules

I don’t know why we humans hate loss so much. It seems as though we would have evolved into creatures that just love loss, can’t get enough of it, crave it, seek it out. Instead, by some design flaw, we are stunned and devastated by things like separation, aging, and death, as though these aren’t the very constants sure to affect every single blessed one of us.

—Martha Beck, Finding Your Own North Star

We humans are notorious for resisting change and loss. We kick and scream and fight to maintain the status quo, which is why the organizations we work for might evolve but often fail to make the drastic changes needed to stay relevant in a market and, ultimately, survive. The sheer volume of coordination required to make big changes is often enough to ensure it won’t happen. And when we throw in an emotional attachment to the Way Things Are (as much as we might complain about it), change is pretty much dead on arrival.

Given that change is accelerating in the business world, due to technology and globalization, our difficulties in facilitating organizational change are becoming more painfully obvious. We are failing faster because change is happening at a faster rate. Nevertheless, we have an opportunity to make some fundamental changes to our organizations. And it’s critical that we do so in order to become more agile. It’s also critical because of a twofold problem that is here to stay, and about which we are currently in denial: one, the always-on dilemma, ...

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