Sheahan The only constant these days is change.

That's as cliche as it gets, but it's true. The economy, the markets, legislation, regulation, communication, technology — they're all conspiring to make our world a living hell, and they're doing it over and over and over again.

So how do we deal with it?

We've offered our thoughts here a time or two before. Relationships, collaboration, learning — those are the keys to staying a step ahead of the rate of change these days.

There are a few other keys, though, and Peter Sheahan knows what they are.

Sheahan is an acclaimed author, CEO of ChangeLabs, and a thought leader in behavioral change and innovaton. In one of the finest keynotes I've ever seen, Sheahan told more than 5,000 association leaders at the ASAE's Annual Meeting that action and innovation will do more to help us conquer change than anything else.

Here are just a few of Sheahan's nuggets of wisdom:

  • Our job going forward is simple … and supremely complex: Question all of our assumptions about what's happening now and what it might look like tomorrow. Those assumptions will almost surely be wrong.
  • Are you a steward of the past or a driver of change? Are you beholden to clients / members / employees who are stuck in yesterday, or are you committed to leading people into a brave new world? If you're the former, you'd better figure out how to become the latter.
  • The hardest thing about staying awesome is the gravity of success. The more we succeed, the more we want to keep doing the same old things. In a world of change, that's a mistake.
  • Complexity breeds specialization, and specialization breeds silos, and silos stifle communication, collaboration and innovation. We've tried for years now to tear down those silos, and yet we find ourselves in an era that promotes the very creation of silos. Walls destroy innovation and collaboration. Walls destroy our efforts to outpace the rate of change. Proceed with caution.
  • In times of great change, action must come before clarity. We don't have the luxury of examinations, studies, task forces and white papers. We need to act, and fast. Don't wait for a blueprint. We're building the blueprint on the fly. Take a leap of faith and adjust things after the fact.

How are you staying ahead of the change curve these days?

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