When we consider change, it’s easy to remain comfortably uncomfortable: thinking about discomfort, but remaining firmly grounded in the known. Change requires disturbance, but it’s a matter of degrees: too little, and nothing really changes, the system regains stability without moving, but too much, and the system is disaggregated and collapses. But how much is enough?
One way to consider it is through metacognition, thinking about thinking: not just ‘cognition’, thinking about something known, but ‘metacognition’, considering how we know the thing. A deeper analysis. Consider this: many HR teams are talking about automation, robotics, the evolving nature of work, and so on. Many of the same TED talks and HBR articles are circulating. People are engaged in some kind of mass hysteria, and mass ‘safety making’ thinking, often in shallow and oft repeated narratives. This type of discomfort, the type that is made safe fast, and was never really that uncomfortable, may not be enough.
Instead, we need to deconstruct the stories we are given, carry out ‘sense making’, both individually, and within our learning communities, and decide our own collective, and individual, narratives. To do so may require us to reach beyond certainty, and into uncomfortable spaces: it may require us to be uncertain for protracted periods, and to be often wrong. Not at all comfortable.
But it’s in this discomfort that we can find the insight and value. Only by moving beyond the ‘known knowns’, and into the uncomfortably unknown spaces, even if only for a short time, can we gain insight, and learn.