Life inside big companies can sometimes feel stuck. The whole world is streaking towards the 21st century — and your feet are planted in concrete! Can't we can crank up the clock speed in this place, shift gears, move faster? Can't we change? Life inside young companies can sometimes feel frenetic. Other organizations have well-defined processes, smart routines that actually work! Can't we ever do the same thing twice? Who pulled the alarm on this fire drill? Can't we get a little organized? Can't we change?
If either of these laments sounds familiar, then familiarize yourself with this issue of Fast Company. You'll find examples from both sides of the great can't-we-change divide. You'll also meet people who are hard at work making change, discover new rules and best practices for changing yourself, and visit unconventional companies that understand how to pick up the pace and keep in step.
Change comes from diversity, and diversity is one of the core values of Fast Company. People in our community come from companies large and small, fast and slow, young and old. But while their organizations and experiences may differ, the people share a common trait — an appetite for change, a hunger for learning, a genuine passion for making a difference. We want to provide the forum where people who have much to share, but nowhere to meet, can come together and learn from each other.
Start with the world of big companies. Siemens Nixdorf and U S West are corporate giants wrestling with the fundamentals of transformation. By chronicling their cutting-edge efforts, we can all learn The 10 Laws of Change That Never Change and study Bob Knowling's Change Manual — lessons that apply to virtually any organization.
Compaq, Autodesk, and Xerox offer a different kind of instruction — the value of introducing younger people into older companies. Each of these big companies is experimenting with change, searching for ways to get in touch with the future before it arrives. Their experiences are a reminder that .The Future Is Younger Than You Think
Now enter the world of the young and the fleet. Pay a visit to Hull Trading Company — a Chicago-based securities firm that uses technology, teamwork, and relentless innovation to outstmart its rivals in the options and futures market. Hull's performance over the last few years demonstrates that if you're in a "Risky Business, Sound Thinking" is your sharpest weapon.
People in companies of all sizes seem to be facing a common reality: work is more demanding, competition is more fierce, human interaction is more intense. That means that emotions are more likely to erupt. Business advisers Peter Naylor and Claire Crittenden have created a revolutionary approach to dealing with emotions, the last taboo of organizational life. Their program is designed to help people Escape From the Red Zone, the destructive and manipulative place that "management" too often seems to occupy.
Finally, if you're looking for organizational lessons that cross all the traditional lines — and apply to every business — take a look at the Los Angeles Dodgers. In a world where talent counts for everything, the Dodgers have an uncanny knack for finding it: the last five Rookies of the Year in the National League have worn a Dodgers' uniform. In He Breeds Dodger Blue, Charlie Blaney, VP of minor league operations, offers the inside pitch on how to find, sign, develop, and promote the best in any field.
No matter how many fascinating organizations we discover and decode, Fast Company will never lose its focus on the unit-of-one advice everyone needs to keep learning, leading, changing, and succeeding. This issue offers useful, hands-on advice on How to Globalize Yourself — seven practical strategies to build your personal portfolio of global skills. You can learn How to Watch the Web, tuning in the much-celebrated "push" channels that bring the best Web programming straight to your desk. To design your own Power Trip, you'll need to choose the right technology toys and tools that fit your workstyle. You can even take a Golf Course — a thoughtful lesson on how to withstand the pressures of competition on the fairway or in the office, taught by Butch Harmon, personal coach to Tiger Woods.
All of this, plus a chance to meet Net visionary Michael Saylor, TV news reinventor Steven Rosenbaum, and other change agents in our growing community — people eager to make the Fast Company connection who live on both sides of the divide.
A version of this article appeared in the April/May 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.