Breaking the habit
A smart person whom I respect a lot and have had the good fortune of working for - often used to say, - always question “What If”, and sooner or later someone will say “Why Not”.
And therein lies the beauty of change. The beauty of creating a set of parameters which become benchmarks for others to follow. It is because of these two word phrases - “What If” and “Why Not”- that innovations have happened, thereby marking the departure of excellence from the mundane.
Because only when you challenge the status quo , can you disrupt the existing inertia to pave way for the new.
In most cases we run with the status quo for three reasons:
- It is time tested and hence safe
- It is less work with a safety net of failure, becoming a game of passing the parcel
- It is within our comfort zone
But by doing that, we compromise every second, every hour- to be able to do something delightful. Something new. Something ground breaking which opens up a world of possibilities.
In a corporate world, we increasingly believe in the formulaic approach. In this approach, you milk an IDEA that works, so much so, that the idea ceases to be one, and becomes a tactic on a spreadsheet and then finally a part of a process. It is at this tactical level that we are in our comfort zone - far away from the innovation zone.
No one wants to break this inertia. Because no one wants to fail.
To break out of this cycle, we have to be able to say , “What if we did it it another way?” and sooner or later we will hear a supporting voice which cuts across the status quo and says “Why Not”.
As Seth captures brilliantly in his blog -
“Move your team across the street, open a new location, completely rewrite the employee handbook, throw out the standard sales script–by creating a vacuum, you give your team permission to invent.”