By the time you read this, one of my three children will be married. “Princess” is my middle child, the oldest daughter, the first to be married. I am stunned. Before you ask, yes, I expected my three children to return home from college and be my little family forever. I expected them to never change, never take advantage of new opportunities, certainly to never move halfway across the country. I thought I would be all they ever needed to have a happy, fulfilled life.
You know…like at work where we invest ourselves heavily in the status quo.
Yes, we expect young people to finish college, come to work for us and learn how to do things the way we did them 5, 10, 20 years ago. The same R&D methods, the same slow market research, the same production systems making the same products for the same people using the same old business model.
And real change to a product? Maybe line extension here, something incremental there, maybe jump on a fad, make a copycat or add a couple features on the back, but we are not ready for real change, that would disrupt our routine.
And finding new people to sell to? That is risky, it takes time and money and you have to try things to see what works and people over on that side of the country are strange, they like vinegar on their potato chips.
We have done just fine watching to see what our competitors do then we squeeeezze our prices to take their marginal customers away.
Status quo is seductive. You might think you have things under control all the while change is eating at your foundations. To paraphrase Thomas Friedman, if your employees are not working to disrupt the status quo someone else’s employees are. Three questions you can ask your team to assess your exposure to the risks of status quo…
- WHAT is an innovation? Specifically, how would you know one when you saw one?
- WHY do you innovate? Explain in a way that would motivate workers and leadership.
- HOW do you innovate? Explain your company’s principles for creating and evaluating ideas. Plus, the methods you use to accelerate development success.
Both Princess and her Prince thought my vision of status quo was cute…but not compelling. So this past Saturday I walked her down the aisle to a new life. They will invent their own future, I am pleased at my part in preparing her for this role. Shouldn’t we prepare our employees and our companies for inventing their future? A future of growth and prosperity built not on yesterday’s foundation but tomorrow’s possibilities?
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