In Action, Change, Leaders

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” – Andre Gide

It’s the understatement of the decade to say that we live in somewhat chaotic times.  I won’t list all the reasons, other than to say there are many.  It feels like we are bombarded by stuff that doesn’t make sense, or is unsettling, or straight up terrifying.

When we’re in situations like that, we have a tendency to look for things that are safe.  We want certainty, and if we can’t find it somewhere on the outside, then we want to create it for ourselves.  We want some kind of stable base that we can count on.  We want comfort food.

There are certainly times when all we can do is batten down the hatches and try to ride out the storm.  But that can’t become a permanent condition.  That can’t just be our standard vision.  It’s impossible to move forward without moving.

That doesn’t mean being rash, or doing stupid things just for the sake of doing something.  It also doesn’t mean that every time you try & move forward it has to be a giant leap.  Baby steps are OK.  You just can’t sit still doing the same things you’ve done and then wonder why it feels like you’re not making any progress.

Think about your business.  Where is one place, even a small one, where you could push the envelope a little over the rest of 2021?  What is one department or division or region or market or whatever that has some opportunity, even a small one, for change?  Maybe there’s a piece of your organization that’s behind from a technology standpoint.  Maybe there’s a piece of your organization that needs to add a specific capability.  Maybe there are certain customers who’ve recently demonstrated a need, even a small one, that you can fill.

The point isn’t that we should all do outlandish things and we will suddenly all go back to having “normal lives.”  For starters, there are no normal lives; there are just lives.  And I’m not necessarily talking about some massive overhaul of your organization (although maybe that’s in order).  All I’m suggesting is that you have to keep pushing forward, even if small victories is all you can manage.

The only alternative is falling further behind, and if you’re looking for a calm in the storm, that’s not it.

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  • Chris Mason

    I agree, it is ALL about baby steps right now. People are concerned about a lack of control and a fear of the unknown so have become risk adverse. Baby steps have less risk. Take a big step and break it into 5-10 baby steps and you will trick yourself (and your team) into thinking it is low risk to do stuff.

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