We’ve all heard business leaders exclaim, “But we’ve always done it that way!” or “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it! Indeed, these are common responses when management is asked why a particular course of action is taken in business strategy or a specific operational procedure is in place. However, these statements (and others like them) are indicative of something that is deeply damaging to business potential… Something that will fester and spread to every function of your organization if you let it: Complacency. Here are my thoughts on indicators of complacency in your business, and, most importantly, what you can do to prevent it.
Too much comfort inevitably leads to stagnation. Although tried and trusted practices often contain the wisdom of many years’ experience and proven methodologies, they do have downsides. Repeatedly and mindlessly following old practices means that there is little importance placed on developing fresh and better approaches. This type of complacency results in a reluctance to change approach or challenge the status quo. The result? No innovations and the failure of an organization to be in the best position possible to deal with future challenges or disasters. The best way to combat this is to lead by example- make sure your employees see that you are always curious as to how things can be improved and streamlined. Be open to change and encourage your employees to suggest new, more efficient ways of getting things done. Put a structure in place to facilitate this if necessary. Innovation is a product of curiosity so only when curiosity is nurtured and rewarded can true innovation take place.
The biggest threat to your business is not increasing competition or challenging market conditions, it is the loss of competitive edge. Complacency leads to mediocrity and no organization can maintain its industry standing with mediocre performance or products. This will only threaten the hard-won trust of clients, customers, and partners. The best way to prevent this from happening to start internally… within yourself. Commit to self-improvement: consistent, continual self-improvement. As a leader you are setting an example to your employees, and they will emulate you. So. set clear and ambitious goals and invest in performance development and employee engagement to lift morale and increase productivity. This will maintain a competitive edge in all areas of your organization.
“This is no time for ease and comfort, it is time to dare and endure.” Wise words from Winston Churchill. So, I’ll conclude with this question for business leaders; why be reluctant to break the mold? Dare to let your curiosity and intuition guide you because the most dangerous course of action is to take no action, in other words, to do what you’ve always done.
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