Eddy Gibbs is a change growth consultant, well known in the USA for his excellent insights into how the world is changing and how organisations (in his case, specifically churches) can adjust appropriately. Here is an extract of something I received by email from him.
“In many areas of the world we are aware that we are in the throes of unprecedented changes, both locally and on a global scale. During previous decades these changes came at a slower pace and were somewhat predictable. In such contexts we could make our five and ten year strategic plans, and establish our goals to ensure their fulfilment. But now we have moved from an era of comfortable change – continuous and incremental – to discomforting change that is chaotic and mostly unpredictable.

“Who knew on the morning of September 11, 2001 that two aircraft would be aimed at the World Trade Center in New York and that a third plane would crash into the Pentagon in Washington D.C.? Such devastation was brought about by 19 individuals armed only with knives identical to those we all have at home. The old secure, self-assured world of modernity has begun to crumble.
What are the key elements of the chaotic changes that break in upon our lives? In the first place, many are global in nature, so there is no safe place for us to hide in. Changes are rapid; they burst upon us, allowing little or no time to reflect. So today, in the business world as well as among military strategists, the current term is just in time planning. In place of long-term strategic plans they speak of alternative scenario planning in which leaders are constantly raising the what if? questions. Such exercises train them to be flexible and responsive when the totally unexpected happens.
In today’s information age, decision-making is increasingly complex. We never know enough and have to be prepared to back our hunches. This paralyses controlling leaders, who have to know everything. Today’s leaders have to move away from controlling hierarchies to connecting networks.
Change is also comprehensive, impacting every area of life. And precisely because it is unpredictable and discontinuous it cannot be planned for, but we must be prepared for any eventuality.”

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