Next or Back to the Future?
Current events may have us all longing for the ‘good ole days.’ Sounds good on paper but not something any of us can realize. Nostalgia aside we all must continue to slog on. It is after all a one-way trip and there is no Delorean to help us.
The Challenge of Change
People change all the time and we have covered this before in this series a number of times. However, some change is not without transformational difficulties. The literature is replete with case studies where organization/industry transformation failed and sometimes spectacularly.
Depending on one’s perspective sometime during February or March of this year, the global population became generally aware of a new and potentially devastating pathogen. Dramatic (even draconian) measures were taken, and we were all convinced of the potential for global devastation. Global Stay-At-Home orders wrecked economies but most of us dutifully obeyed.
As of this writing, in a world of almost 8 billion people, according to a credible source, Johns Hopkins:
- Cumulative Cases; Less than 8 million
- Deaths; Less than 500k
- Recovered; Approximately 3.7 million
Rarely, emphasized math suggests that there are approximately 3.7 million Active cases.
For those of you in the US (~330 million) like I am, the math looks like this:
- Cumulative Cases; Just over 2 million
- Deaths; Approximately 116k
- Recovered; Approximately 560k
Active US cases are approximately 1.4 million.
We have been told Covid-19 Armageddon was at hand. Hospitals would be overwhelmed, etc. No Mask and now Mask. Most show few if any symptoms. Now asymptomatic will kill the elderly and so it goes. This list of contradictory positions goes on and change is justified by our “New Knowledge” about the pathogen.
Now we are told a new wave is coming from Memorial Day celebrations, protests and more from the phasing out of the lockdown. How is the population reacting to these new pronouncements of doom?
By engaging in normal human interactions. Mask free in many cases to the chagrin of the medical experts. One expert suggested that the United States does not have a coherent Covid-19 national policy.
From my high school Civics, class, ”Enumerated powers are specific powers granted to Congress by the United States Constitution. The framers of the Constitution wanted to ensure the new federal government would not become an overreaching entity that might subject the people to the oppression from which they had fled. To that end, they listed, in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, the authority over certain specific things. Authority over every issue not enumerated, or assigned to Congress, is reserved for the individual states.”
My interpretation, States are the governing body for most activities including a pandemic.
Therefore, each state is charged with managing this process within federal law, taking guidance from resources such as the Center for Disease Control. This is 200+ year-old policy.
Failure to Launch
In recent days, this writer has encountered numerous individuals seemingly in violation of the tenets of Covid-19 response. After months of predicting the end of human interaction as we have known it and in the face of numbers that just don’t add up, we are told it isn’t over yet. Seemingly entrenched positions prevail although data and subsequent rationale are fungible.
Much is being said about fundamental changes to industry, i.e., oil and gas, airlines, and others. Societal change is presented as fait accompli and the time is now!
The history of transformation does not support these hypotheses.
Sustained change requires significant ongoing energy from catalysis. Not the continuation of exogenous events but continued commitment to answer the What’s In It for Me question we all ask when confronted with a new model.
Current events will fade and life as we knew it will likely continue. To be sure, there will be some change but disruptive transformation in the social fabric pundits are predicting are unlikely based on the past and typical human behavior.
How will You Assure Transformation is Sustained?
For More Information
Please note, RRI does not endorse or advocate the links to third-party materials. They are provided for education and entertainment only.
For more information on Cross Cultural Engagement, check out our Cross Cultural Serious Game
We presented, Should Cross Cultural Serious Games Be Included in Your Diversity Program: Best Practices and Lessons Learned at the Online Conference, New Diversity Summit 2020 on April 9, 2020. The summit will be offered again soon. Check it Out!!
You can contact the author as well.
Critical Mass: Value from the RBC Framework
Nuclear physicists define the term, “critical mass” as the amount of fissile material whereby a nuclear reaction is self-sustaining. From that original definition, the construct is further developed along societal and political terms as a function of the environment and number of adopters and their interdependencies that create enough of a consensus for individual actions that sustains an undertaking.
In 1996, the author published the first of several case studies on a societal interaction model based on the Relationships, Behavior and Conditions (RBC) construct among economic actors. Previously the model was only in the domain of academia.
This blog addresses contemporary issues from the RBC perspective and whether in the present state they are sustainable or not. Many readers may be familiar with the “Innovation Adoption Curve.” RBC seeks to enlighten the causality of behaviors that cause movement towards the critical mass that generates movement along this diffusion curve.
- Technology Assessment in the Era of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) June 30, 2020
- Next or Back to the Future? June 16, 2020
- Agility, Resiliency, Sustainability May 14, 2020
- Disrupting Disruption! May 11, 2020
- Tumultuous Decade: What’s Next for Oil & Gas? April 20, 2020
Other Blogs by Dr. Shemwell
Dr. Shemwell is an author/contributor for the following 3rd party blogs.
So, You Want to be an Entrepreneur
Dr. Shemwell is a member of the Global Energy Mentors (GEM) Leadership Team. Every month he or one of his colleagues is posting timely tips to help entrepreneurs navigate the energy start up sector. Check out the Landing Page.
Governing Energy Blog
BTOES Insights is the content portal for Business Transformation & Operational Excellence opinions, reports & news. Dr. Shemwell is a contributor.
Consult 2050 connects organizations with a wide range of consultants all around the world. The firm operates an online marketplace for consultancy services.
Essays on Business and Information
This two volume set covers a series of newsletters and opinion pieces published circa 2002-2009, including Bug Lore–Lessons for the Online Economy that addressed real time systems vulnerabilities from Y2K (1998-99).
About the Author
Dr. Scott M. Shemwell has over 30 years technical and executive management experience primarily in the energy sector. He is the author of six books and has written extensively about the field of operations. Shemwell is the Managing Director of The Rapid Response Institute, a firm that focuses on providing its customers with solutions enabling Operational Excellence and regulatory compliance management. He has studied cultural interactions for more than 30 years—his dissertation; Cross Cultural Negotiations Between Japanese and American Businessmen: A Systems Analysis (Exploratory Study) is an early peer reviewed manuscript addressing the systemic structure of societal relationships.