TATOC 2016 conference round-up – part 2
In the second of a special series of reports on the highlights of the 2016 TATOC conference, LEIGH CONNELLY looks back at Michael Jacksons presentation The Challenge of Change: The Road Ahead.
With more than 30 years marketing and communications experience, Michael Jackson – known as The Other Michael Jackson – is a popular professional speaker who specialises in the subject of change in the business environment.
Speaking at 2016 TATOC (The Timeshare Association) in the UK, Jackson presented ‘The Challenge of Change: The Road Ahead’, which focused on various aspects of change in business. Breaking his subject down into the four pillars of change he had identified: Computing, Communications, Collaboration and Convergence, he demonstrated how these four areas have changed the business landscape beyond recognition in a relatively short period of time.
The Challenge of Change
Jackson began by referencing an experiment undertaken many years ago, which proved that if a frog was placed in cold water, which was then gradually heated up, the frog would not realise the temperature was increasing, and by the time it did it was too late to save itself. The analogy, of course, served to drive home the importance of being pro-active in responding to change and with good reason.
“Our generation has experienced more change than any other,” he told delegates. He then presented some alarming facts which substantiated his premise that we should all be aware of the pace of change and the impact it has on our business.
- Computing: The command module computer used by Mission Control in the moon landing in July 1969 had only 6MB of processing power, which is less than most modern toasters with stop, start and defrost buttons have today.
- Communication: The first mobile phones weighed approximately 5lb, the average weight of a handbag. Five million people owned the first mobile phones and were the executives of the world. Today seven billion people own mobile phones, with an average of seven million being sold on a daily basis.
- Collaboration: 10 years ago, Facebook broke records by having 100 million users. In August 2015 one billion Facebook users logged on in just one day. Two billion people are choosing social media as their primary form of communication today.
- Convergence: In this modern age everything is easily accessible at the click of a button and in almost any location.
The four pillars example, he stated, illustrated that new technological innovations, which used to take a generation to come into use, is now becoming available within a matter of weeks and months. A further example of this was a prediction by Google, which said that due to various advancements, the average human lifespan will soon be 150 years old, and that the first people to live to this age are already 12 years old. Given that within two generations our life expectancy has almost doubled, Jackson told delegates that he believed this prediction to be realistic.
The Road Ahead
Jackson asked delegates to think about what makes their business unique. “Where is the Apple, the Uber, or the Airbnb in your business?” he asked. “Focus on the road ahead, what has gone before doesn’t matter,” he added. To highlight this Jackson used simple equations that Harvard Law School have used to motivate students.
In the past, their equation was: Past + Future = Present
However, today they are thinking: Past/Present > Difference > = Future. This strategic thinking highlights the belief that it is not the past that matters, but the difference what makes you and your offering unique. To move forward and create this uniqueness, delegates were advised to “simplify, smarten up and specialise”.
Simplify – Many Chinese people follow the words of Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, who said: ‘Life is simple; humans complicate life’.
Jackson himself simplified Confucius teachings for the delegates breaking it down to three crucial points:
- Identify in your life what is important to you
- Eliminate everything else
- And for when this cannot be applied Automate, delegate, or get help.
Smarten up – Jackson showed delegates a triangle, depicting the levels of consciousness, and competence. The primary lesson here was how individuals can move from the unconsciously competent base of the competency triangle, where he believes anyone who has been doing something routinely for more than two weeks will sit, into ‘excellence’ at its tip. To make the transition, he said: “You must be conscious of what you do, and respond to change”.
Specialise – Create a continuous strategy of researching and tuning, refining and developing. He called upon those present to, be like an orchestra saying: “We need to engineer our own destiny. The future doesnt just happen. Its about stepping up a gear and performing better.”
Directing delegates along ‘The Road Ahead’, Jackson used the analogy of driving, referencing how drivers use their mirrors. He noted that there is a reason the rear-view mirror is smaller than the windscreen, and that is because everyone should apply a similar proportion of looking backwards versus looking forward in our everyday and professional lives as we do when behind the steering wheel.