Winston Churchill wrote, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” Yet many of us are reluctant to embrace change. We can conceivably become comfortable with both the way things are and the way we are. Comfort brings us a sense of satisfaction and contentment. Many of us enjoy stability and predictable outcomes and are perfectly happy with the status quo. Perhaps that is why Woodrow Wilson stated, “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”
However, while we are enjoying the comfort of the familiar, the world is changing all around us. We can’t allow our comforts to paralyze us into a sense of complacency that ultimately minimizes our relevance in an ever-changing world. Artificial intelligence may ultimately become the greatest market disruptor of our generation. No one yet fully knows precisely how artificial intelligence will impact our workforce or the broader society. What is known is that organizations of excellence will have to adapt to changing circumstances to maintain preeminence.
That being said, we certainly don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We rightfully cherish our family values, our traditions, and our cultural heritage. We need to protect and preserve those things that contribute to our success as individuals, as organizations, and as a society. Wisdom lies in discerning which things we need to hold on to and which things we need to change. The question is not whether we will need to change, but rather how we will need to change.
At Weatherford College we will undoubtedly need to continue to provide our students with employable skill sets in an ever-changing job market. We will need to continue to provide business and industry with highly skilled workers who can assume jobs that pay family sustaining wages. Regardless of the academic or workforce discipline, our graduates will need highly developed critical thinking skills and adaptable mindsets.
As fields such as robotics, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and advanced manufacturing continue to rapidly expand, we will have to change the way we do things if we are to capitalize on students’ emerging educational and employment opportunities. It is not likely that the abacus will replace computing technology anytime soon, or that the demand for wagon wheel manufacturing will outpace the need for healthcare workers. As Bob Dylan said, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” We must change with them.
Tod Allen Farmer
President, Weatherford College