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Farther, Faster, Higher
Here's a bit of trivia. The Wright brothers' historic first powered flight traveled a total distance that is less than the wing span of a 747. That was in 1903. In 1911, the Wrights' Vin Fiz was the first airplane to cross the United States. The flight took 84 days, stopping 70 times. Now, the last time I was in a 747, I was traveling to Hong Kong. Those are dramatic increases in the space of 100 years. Interestingly, the basic principles of flight and how the Wright brothers used aerodynamics and how Boeing engineers used them today have not changed.

What has changed is the degree to which we can understand these forces and leverage them to our advantage. We have become more advanced in the use of systems that allow the laws of physics to do what is natural and enable powered flight. What does this have to do with leadership and change, aside from the fact that I like airplanes? I am often asked for the very latest in change and in leading change. Some people consider literature that is ten years old to be out of date. Here's the corollary to 747s.

If you compare the Exodus story of a few thousand years ago to a current day change effort, you will find that the overall aspects of change have not changed (that sounds weird). The change process described in Exodus is basically the same as described today, with the big exception that we can get a lot more done in forty years now than they did back then. Oh, all right. We usually don't use swarms of locusts and the like these days either, although I have seem some techniques that seemed pretty close. What has improved over time is our capacity to understand these forces and leverage them to our advantage. We have improvements in how we interact with people and how we can monitor systems.


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