I have observed that any focus on the Black Community has to take into account the gaps in our progress -- some imposed by oppressors, others self-imposed, all can be addressed with our own initiative. Throughout my life experience, I have also observed that I must run faster, get up earlier, stay up later, study harder, and have greater faith in the outcome of my efforts to achieve my goals as a Black man. I can lament this necessity, or I can move into the FAST LANE to catch up and accelerate past those ahead of me. There are no free passes to the head of the line.
Throughout 2009, I will share my thoughts through the Blog title -- Life in the Fast Lane. First, an observation about what is going on around us today. I will spend no time dwelling on what happened to me, or us, in the past. I know my history; I will not fall victim to forgetting it; I must focus all of my attention on my future. At age 62, I have lived through the history of Jim Crow, School Desegregation, the Civil Rights Movement, 7 recessions (8, counting the present), the emergence of the Global Economy, and the Information Age. So, I have the blessing of perspective. I know how far behind I was at the beginning of my life, and I have seen much progress. So, I want to share that perpsective and invite your comments and input to solutions for a better future.
I have asked some of my friends to provide topics of interest related to Life in the Fast Lane. If there is a related topic that you would be interested in hearing my perspective, please let me know.
Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, I want to start with a discussion of the environment we find ourselves in -- all of us! Not just Black folks. Our new President-elect has built and shaped our expectations around a vision of change. the change he is speaking about is global, and there is nowhere we can run or hide to escape it. One observer calls what is happening to us Culture Shift.
One of the foremost experts in the field of organizational change is Price Pritchett. In his book, Culture Shift, he offers several strategies for employees and managers during organizational upheaval. He offers this observation about change:
Our rapidly changing world calls for a culture with quicker reflexes.
Agility and flexibility.
The future requires a shift to new responses.
It's time to change
the way we handle change.
I believe these observations apply to every aspect of our lives, not just the work environment. I have extracted 5 DOs and DON'Ts that I believe apply to all of us during this period of rapid change that we are going through.
1. Speed Up
2. Stay Cool
3. Take the initiative
4. Spend energy on solutions
5. Take personal responsibility for fixing things.
1. Slow Down
3. Wait for instructions
4. Waste time and energy on emotions
5. Blame others for what you don't like.
This culture shift, and the gaps we face require a move to the fast lane for those who want to reap all the benefits of the 21st century. This is the world babies are born into today. This is the world graduates are encountering when they enter the workforce. This is the world we live in and the changees we are experiencing will accelerate. They won't slow down for us to catch up.
As I share my perspective, I will offer new ideas; reflect on values and old ideas that worked in the past; revisit some of the advice that we have ignored; and share some success stories of those who have successfully navigated the fast lane.
One final observation about the fast lane. When you get into the fast lane, everything else slows down because you have become accustomed to a different pace. You will discover that you can run faster; think more clearly; solve problems better; deal with greater quantities of information; collaborate more effectively with others in the fast lane; and most importantly, offer help to those who may be struggling in a slower lane, based on what you have achieved. This doesn't require that you move into the slower lane to be "down with those who are struggling." This will only cause you to fall behind again. The help you offer must result in their speeding up.
So, our journey to greater progress begins. Will you join me in the fast lane?
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