“A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” – Muhammad Ali
We spend a lot of time in this space talking about change. How much & how fast the world changes, how technology changes, how markets change, etc. But what about us, both as individuals and as organizations?
Sometimes we praise people for their consistency, for being dependable, for knowing where they stand, etc. And to a point that’s valid. But only to a point. Carried too far, consistency means stubbornness, dependability means a lack of creativity, knowing where they stand means being overly predictable, and so on.
I’d suggest this for any business: every so often (maybe a couple times a year), sit down with your key people and ask them this question: “If we were legally required to change the way we do X, how would we do it?” You decide what X is. Maybe it’s something with operations, maybe it’s sales & marketing, maybe it’s HR, whatever. Just pick something & take it apart.
I’m not necessarily suggesting you have to complete a major overhaul of your business every few months, but you have to at least consider the possibility. There are plenty of things every business does ‘because we’ve always done it that way’. So many of those things made sense given our worldview of the past. But is that worldview still accurate? If we really think about the world, is that still the best way?
Sometimes our pride gets in the way of that conversation. We developed some great process, or had some great philosophy, and when it’s time to put that aside for something new we take it personally. We think, “My idea was good in 1987 and it’s still good!” Sorry, but that’s probably not true.
More often, fear of change gets in the way. We’re afraid if we really look at how we do things, we’ll realize they need to change, then we’ll have no excuse not to change, and we don’t like change, so let’s just not talk about it.
You may find that how you do things is still valid, or maybe requires some tweaks, or maybe needs to be totally reengineered. Whatever the case, you won’t know if you’re not having the conversation. Challenge yourself. Challenge your team. Change how you view the world.