The Speed of Change

Events happen that create change.

Being change agile has been critical for all of us this last year, life has changed significantly.

World War II

Cast your mind back a few generations.  At the outbreak of WWII,  the massive change of war impacted every household across the nation.  There were repercussions for everyone.

One consequence was that the UK government embarked upon a scrap drive with households all over the nation donating their iron railings and gates to the war effort. It was quite an initiative, creating a feeling of  altruistic sacrifice amongst the people of the country.  Indeed it was a feel good factor, boosting morale, we were all in this together!

The recycled iron collected was used to create steel for all kinds of uses during the war, ships, tanks, planes, tools etc.

Subsequently mile after mile of iron railings vanished from our streets.  Even after all these years, our neighbourhood still has lots of evidence to suggest that great sacrifice was made for the war effort.

Whilst out walking yesterday, we noticed that one of the larger houses in our area had new iron railings installed.  They looked great!  As we continued our walk, we observed just how many other homes in our community had never replaced the railings.  Despite the fact that 80+ years have passed by!

Somehow yesterday, the fact that one home had new iron railings, accentuated the issue, namely there were so many homes that hadn’t done anything in all those years.

So – why is that?

  • Our initial thought was perhaps people didn’t have the money to replace the railings?  Would that be the case even after 80+ years?
  • Perhaps people just aren’t interested in beautifying their homes and replacing the iron railings, its unimportant?
  • Could it be that people are just lazy and can’t be bothered?
  • Perhaps they like the little iron stubs protruding out of their walls?  – No that’s just daft we thought!
  • It could be that despite 80+ years passing, it is something that generations of homeowners have never gotten around too?
  • Maybe folks like the constant reminder that the iron stubs are an important part of the social history of the area?
  • Or after all of those ideas, could it be something completely different – that as yet we haven’t thought of?

What do we learn about the speed of change?

The speed of change at the start of WWII was incredibly fast.  The demand for steel accelerated quickly to meet the needs of the war effort.  There was a huge need, driving the change.

Post war it seems, the issue of replacement railings has only ever been addressed by a few.

There is nothing now driving the need for change.

It is simply a matter of personal motivation and a few of the factors outlined above.  The speed factor, the big event driving the change – has disappeared!  Aside from an occasional comment or passing remark, no one is driving the change.  Perhaps that it the biggest lesson of all.

What drives change in your own life and in your own community?