A client recently shared a story with me that represents an important lesson in understanding technological change.
General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., who acted as commander of the allied forces during Operation Desert Storm, tells the story of teaching one of his promising lieutenants about leadership. The lieutenant, a recent graduate of West Point Academy, was talking about the advanced technology of the United States military when General Schwarzkopf invited him to accompany him outside. Not knowing what to expect or where they were going, the lieutenant followed his leader. Schwarzkopf and the young man walked up to one of the newest Air Force fighter jets and told the young man to command the jet to fly. Of course, nothing happened. Schwarzkopf and the young man then walked over to a tank and Schwarzkopf told the young man to command the tank to “move.” When nothing happened, General Schwarzkopf commanded the young man to give the order again.