Facing the 70s
by MICHAEL N. CHETKOVICH Partner, Executive Office
Published in H & S Reports— Winter 1970
As HASKINS & SELLS rounds out its seventy-fifth year, the calendar
reveals the 1970s stretching out ahead of us, unexplored, a bit mysterious, challenging certainly and even in some ways frightening. We peer into the future, and we see vaguely the shapes of things to come. Inevitably, there are some we could do just as well without, and there are others that offer boundless opportunities for good. To a large extent, the balance between the unfavorable and the favorable will be determined by our own strengths and attitudes—our ability to turn challenge into opportunity.
At such a point we must consider thoughtfully the unfolding picture and what it holds for all of us connected with H&S. Thinking and planning ahead are nothing new for most of us. But the rapidity of change in our environment demands that we think and plan ahead today on a scale to which we have not been accustomed in the past, even as we recognize that our plans are more susceptible to change than ever before. Only if we look at the future as clearly and objectively as possible may we expect to meet the challenges which lie ahead, to respond affirmatively to change and to progress as a vigorous and constructive enterprise.
For we live in a time that is without precedent, a time when change is taking place at an incredibly accelerating rate. One can have no confidence
that past patterns necessarily provide guidelines for what will occur in the future. In the period just ahead we may easily find that some of the best trained, most productive people in our present-day society will be unable to keep up with the times, because their orientation is outmoded so swiftly.
In Horizon magazine a few years back, Alvin Toffler, who was an associate editor of Fortune, wrote an article called The Future as a Way of Life. In this article he coined the term "future shock" to express an idea similar to the "culture shock" which anthropologists have called the bewildering effect that immersion in a strange culture has on an unprepared visitor. Toffler describes future shock as "the dizzying disorientation brought on by the premature arrival of the future." He warns that unless intelligent steps are taken to combat this disease, many