What If We Don’t Love Chaos?

A Generation Flux cheat sheet for the rest of us

When Fast Company’s Robert Safian first coined the phrase “Generation Flux” a little over a year ago, boy did it resonate! If you missed the original article, here is a quote:

“What defines GenFlux is a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates—and even enjoys—recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions. Not everyone will join Generation Flux, but to be successful, businesses and individuals will have to work at it. This is no simple task. The vast bulk of our institutions—educational, corporate, political—are not built for flux. Few traditional career tactics train us for an era where the most important skill is the ability to acquire new skills.”

—Robert Safian – Fast Company, Jan. 9, 2012

Suddenly, the uncertainty, instability and chaos we’d all been feeling for at least a decade had a name. His article (and the follow-up published in October) did a brilliant job of showcasing the mind-sets of hip young entrepreneurs and hot Flux-friendly companies like Nike, Mashable and Foursquare. But what about the rest of us?

What about the, well, more sedate institutions Safian mentions in the above quote? What about established companies whose employees don’t naturally love chaos and live fearlessly? What about uncool, unhip and, frankly, scared-out-of-our-wits old-school workers with kids we have to feed and mortgages we have to pay?

Don’t worry: Glenda Eoyang and Royce Holladay say there is hope for us “reluctant fluxers,” too!

“It’s true that we all need to work in new ways to keep up with the supercharged velocity of change that defines the global economy,” says Eoyang, who along with co-author Holladay wrote the new book Adaptive Action: Leveraging Uncertainty in Your Organization. “And it’s true that leaders need to encourage a sense of urgency in the people we’re counting on to carry out the work.

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