My grandmother (we call her Nana) just turned 89 on Feb 20th and sent me a message on Facebook yesterday. She writes in all CAPS so while it appears to her as larger and easier to read, the rest of the world thinks that she is yelling about the meatloaf making her house smell delicious as it cooks. She also has been toying with the notion of joining Twitter and Instagram because she feels like she is missing out on things and no one, especially my Nana, likes to feel left out of anything. She’s a Mac user, has a sharp as a tack vocabulary thanks to the random people who challenge her on Words With Friends, and enjoys having a Google Hang Out with my cousin who lives in Australia.
Papa, her husband of almost 70 years, sits in the living room carving sculptures and figurines with his 92-year-old hands, and asks Nana to find a pattern for a giraffe that he wants to carve for one of the great-grandkids. With an effortless singular motion, she snaps open her laptop, finds a pattern and in no time a printed copy awaits in the printer tray.
One of the many tidbits that I have learned from my grandparents (aside from how to live life with integrity, care genuinely for others and not take myself too seriously) was how to adapt to this crazy, changing world that we live in. The truth is, none of us truly know what the next big thing will be (if we did, we certainly would have invented it by now) so we have no choice but to embrace every opportunity that we have to reinvent ourselves in order to keep current with society. The point of me telling you all of this is because as my grandparents found out, longevity is not an excuse for turning your back to change and innovation. “Just because we always do it that way” is not a phrase that we should embrace because it tends to not have a healthy outcome. You are all positioned to be change agents – harness that gift and be a positive catalyst for change in your organization.
Tradition is something that should be preserved when enacting change, but don’t let it hold you back. Just ask Nana.