Let Go of the Old First

I visited my Dad last Christmas and took my two boys with me all three of us above 6 foot tall. Why’s that relevant? The hire car at Bordeaux airport that I’d pre-booked was blatantly too small for us all plus luggage.

So the company sold me an upgrade – an Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

And what a motor – 4 wheel SUV, sleek, fast and brand spanking new. Loaded with all the latest driver assistance gadgets. I started driving in 1983 with a rust bucket of a car with a dodgy handbrake and front doors that would fall off driving round the bend. Power steering was a dream of the future, you needed to lift weights to steer it.

The Alfa was very different, and I was looking forward to experiencing all the new driver assistance features.

My challenge was that I was so ingrained with old features I found it cumbersome to embrace the new. For example, I couldn’t figure how to switch the full beam on and off or how to open the boot, and the worse one was how to set the cruise control, which I’ve enjoyed on cars before.

I kept fighting with my old habits until I learnt to embrace and just go with it. I stopped trying to switch the full beam off, and soon the car began doing it automatically. As soon as a car approached me, the Alfa dipped the lights, and once it had passed, the full beam came on.

When I stopped and parked the car, the boot automatically opened, and the best one was the cruise control. Once I let it do its own thing, the car drove itself on the motorway, changing lanes and keeping with the traffic…automatically.

We know how our industry is going to change yet we defend the old ways. Today I’ve been working with some paraplanners who support IFAs in their job and suggested that in 5 years time they won’t be needed to give advice – automated intelligence will – and their role will be to interpret the advice for clients and make complex ideas appear simple.

There was uproar. The paraplanners defended every aspect of their job.

This is dangerous – you can’t stop change or the tide – and if you fight it as I did with my Alfa, then you won’t win. Instead, go with the flow, rid yourself of the old first, and let change happen.

Now I have an Alfa Stelvio on my shopping list but looking at the price, I think I’ll let some time flow by first, there’s still plenty of miles left on my Mitsubishi.