I recently shared my thoughts on how complacency is deeply damaging to business, as well as some thoughts on how you can prevent yourself (and your company) from becoming complacent. By asking leaders why some of them are reluctant to break the mold, we begin to understand that, all too often, complacency isn’t the result of confidence that we’re doing the right thing, but rather down to a fear of doing something different. However, to stay edgy, disruptive, and relevant, it’s vital to constantly explore new ways of doing things, be guided by curiosity and intuition, and to take massive action. Not deciding is a decision, and we risk more by remaining stagnant than we do by changing our approach to better move forward. So, whether you’re leading a business or working for one, your attitude (and the statements it leads you to make) has consequences. It’s my belief that by interpreting utterances correctly and asking the right questions, it becomes clear where the opportunities for improvement lie. Here are a few examples of common statements and how they can indicate potential for progression.
“I was just doing what I was supposed to”
When someone says this, it’s likely to be after a disappointment or failure of some kind. To me, it sounds more like they’re saying, “I’m not bothered to take any initiative” or “I don’t want to be responsible.” Inverting this would mean asking the following types of questions: What could I transform to make this process more effective? How do I improve the procedure, so this doesn’t happen again? How can I better embrace ownership of this task, so I’m motivated to find better solutions?
“There’s nothing I can do”
It’s the most defeatist statement there is, but we can learn a lot from it. How about twisting it entirely… there’s always something that can be done – always something I can do! Simplistic perhaps, but sometimes simplicity is what’s necessary. You may not be able to change the current state of the market or the global economy, but you can always find ways of better serving your customers and giving them what they need at that time.
“It’s always worked before so let’s keep doing it”
This makes me think of that old philosophical question, do you want to survive, or do you want to thrive? There is a fundamental difference between the two. So, why jeopardize the potential to thrive by staying in survival mode? Why not strive for more by shaking things up?
There are always better ways to do things, always better ways to do your job, always better ways to serve your customer base. We’re so lucky to have so many amazing tools and talents at our disposal for help and inspiration. So, if you ever find yourself saying something like, “that’s just the way it is,” you need to start asking yourself good quality questions, such as “…or is it?”
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