It’s getting close to Fall, so it’s back from vacation, back to school, back to work. It’s also time for Apple to make yet another game-changing product announcement (and for us to try and guess what it is). As we get ready for the seasons to change, I got thinking about how technology changes, and how rapidly our expectations also change. I was at the MacWorld convention when Steve Jobs announced the iPhone (hard to believe it was only a little over 6 years ago). Clearly, it was not only a technology change, but a game changer in how we viewed personal technology, and it’s amazing how much the technology playing field has been re-shaped.
In that time, Apple has gone from doing reasonably well, to AMAZINGLY well, to not nearly as well (in relative comparison). Other companies have introduced technology that is grabbing market share, Steve Jobs’ absence is still debated as an influence, and the game is changing once again. But has anything REALLY changed? The one constant in life, and ESPECIALLY in technology is change. Things will be different tomorrow, and radically different a year from tomorrow.
Change in people has a much longer and flatter arc. Sometimes it takes years to make a change in life direction, and it’s not always in the right one. You can’t predict a 500% ROI by getting a certification, improving technical skill or providing mentorship and coaching…..because people don’t change, they grow. Sometimes they grow overnight. (Those of you with teenagers already know this). Sometimes they seem to grow in the wrong direction. Sometimes their growth takes so long, it’s hard to tell they’re growing at all.
Knowing that, where should you spend your effort and focus? I’d argue that despite all the advantages that technology change brings, the focus should be on people. It’s a long, frustrating path some times, but when the rewards come, those people are much more effective than any piece of technology. Bonus is that as they grow, they can multiply their effectiveness (and yours) by helping others grow, too. Technology will keep changing – make sure that your people are growing to take advantage of it.