“What works” is holding you back
You haven’t reached higher in life because you’re doing what works. “What works” is a set of strategies and skills you’ve developed because of your past. In other words, “what works” enables you to face predictable challenges you’ve already encountered. Living with “what works” is living in the past.
Your relationship strategies created the relationships you currently enjoy. If you’re looking for more or deeper relationships, you’ll have to adapt old strategies or adopt new ones. For example, you joined a local business association that produced your current pool of connections. In order to reach higher, you’ll need to find another association. Don’t keep swimming in one pond.
Your marketing strategies helped you reach your current level of sales. If you’re looking for dynamic improvement, you’ll have to adapt old strategies or adopt new ones. Or perhaps, you’ll have to develop new products and discard old ones. In either case, “what works” won’t keep working.
In order to reach higher you’ll need to do things that haven’t worked for you. They may have worked for someone else but not for you. Loving comfortable methods and practiced strategies holds you back.
Current success strangles future success.
How can past success strangle future success? How can past success be a platform rather than a barrier?
How true. I am in the midst of totally transforming one of the largest departments of our organization. And guess what? It’s HARD. We can get so comfortable in our routines and familiarity, but like Einstein (or someone) said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over, but expecting different results.”
Thanks for the good word. And I think it was Einstein who said that. I think I’m going to write about bottle necks tomorrow…sounds like you know what I’m talking about.
LF readers: Shrinking Camel has a blog at http://shrinkingthecamel.com/
“Being good is the greatest enemy to becoming great” – Jim Collins in Good to Great
Thanks for leaving what I think is your first comment on LF. Right on!
Well said Dan. Most of the time I have realised that “fear of the unknown” always makes people become complacent. I always associate the “What works” strategy to a dog that continues to try and bite its wagging tail and goes round and round. Pursuit of mediocrity is always successful. Organisations need to step up the game,have a look not only on the downside but also the upside of risk taking when it comes to successful strategy planning and execution.
Love when you say, “pursuit of mediocrity is always successful.” I”m going to use that one! If you want to guarantee success just aim low.
I’ve heard people say the greatest risk is not taking risks.
Thanks for stopping in,
I wholeheartedly agree. I recently attended a clinic and the best thing I heard was the phrase: ‘what’s next?’ That is the question that propels you forward – keeps you looking ahead. It’s working for me…
“What’s next” Great question. I have to add it to the 10 best questions ever, http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/10-best-questions-ever/
Keeping moving forward.
I don’t know who said it, but one of my favorite quotes is “the map is not the territory.” What this means to me is that you can look at your “plan” but until you set foot on the terrain you really can’t know the ecstasy of being at, for example a high altitude or the disappointment of discovering that an area you thought would be beautiful is really quite mundane unless you actually set foot on the land.
You may have a map but you can’t know “what works” until you take that first literal step ……
Your comment reminds me of a recent conversation with a fellow leader. He reminded me that meetings aren’t actually doing. I think it was Drucker who said nothing gets done in meetings. We can’t talk our way into achievement.
Paula blog is at http://www.waytenmom.blogspot.com/
Best to you,
Excellent post! Reminds me of saying, “Discomfort is a function of growth”. In order to move and grow, we will become uncomfortable. That’s the challenge! Push through the discomfort towards growth. When I think about my life, all goals worth achieving caused me some discomfort…all relationships worth having caused me some discomfort.
Dan, I love how you put this idea in a new, fresh perspective for me!
Thanks for the good word. I appreciate it. You repeated the uncomfortable word, “discomfort” a couple times. That makes me uncomfortable! 😉
Along with Kelly, Jen writes a blog at http://theexperiencefactor.com/the-x-blog/
Best to you,
Great post. The “adapt or adopt” mantra is certainly prevalent in our business and personal culture but is rarely pursued. This reminds me of the classic definition of insanity: “Doing the same things you’ve done before but expecting a different result”
Past success should be a platform for change if you recognize that in that situation also, you adapted or adopted.
Thank you for leaving a comment. I appreciate it.
As I read what you said about the past being a platform, I thought about the confidence a past success can create. Past success shouldn’t cause complacency. It should cause confidence.
Past successes should be a platform for change, but so should past failures. What is surprising is an organisation not changing ‘what works’, even when there have been times that it hasn’t worked, and i believe most organisations must have had atleast one occasion in which it didn’t. Great stuff, Dan, keep it coming.
I appreciate your first comment on LF. Thank you. And thanks for the reminder that failure can be a platform for success.
I’m looking forward to seeing you again.
Thanks for the good food for thought regarding looking at current success. I would say that current success CAN strangle future success. I like to think of current success as a baseline; that the comfort you might feel when achieving success can serve as a baseline. The challenge is to be sure that the comfort is seen as energizing fuel to take the next, possibly riskier steps, not as a reason to be complacent.
Nicely said… current success is a baseline not a limiting line. It’s energy rather than a reason for complacency.
Thanks for your comment.