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The business of stagnation: Status quo & change resistance

Accepting status quo and resisting change, results in complacency and the risk of heading in one direction — down a slippery slope to failure.

The Business Of Stagnation - article image

Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker said, “Leadership is the challenge to be something more than average”.

The world is moving quicker than ever before, is more connected than ever before, and more uncertain than ever before. And yet we are in a period of significant opportunity where we can connect, collaborate, and influence more than ever to make a real difference, to change the rule-books, to build trust, connection and surprise one-to-one, more-to-more and many-to-many.

Despite the opportunity that does exist, there are many businesses sitting comfortably on the status quo sofa — and this is killing business.

These businesses are often more concerned with survival than growth. They forget about the customer, fail to engage their teams, struggle to attract, recruit and retain talent, and simply churn through the day making small adjustments and readjustments in the hope that these small actions will spark significant momentum in a rapidly changing world — but of course it is a mere blip.

The status quo is the enemy of change, new ideas, innovation, and invention. Sitting comfortably on the comfort zone sofa, accepting status quo, resisting change, and refusing to explore alternate thinking and solutions results in complacency and the risk of heading in one direction — down a slippery slope to failure.

Boston Consulting Group states that organisations must today shift their business model and leadership skills to become more adaptive, to be better, faster, and more economical than their competitors. The Harvard Business Review supports this sentiment in the article ‘The World of Leadership’ by Ronald A Heifetz and Donald L Laurie: Its tough when markets change and your people within the company don’t.”

Philosopher Charles Handy talks about the phenomenon of the ‘Sigmoid Curve’. According to Handy, the best time to start a new ‘curve’ is before you reach the peak of your existing one. That way, you will be starting something new when you still have the resources, and the spirit, to take it to new heights. In contrast, most people think of doing something new only when they have reached the bottom of what they are presently involved in.

The speed of transformation that we are currently witnessing in the way business is being done is challenging us all to think differently — to play on the edge, to seek new opportunity, and above all, to develop innovative ways to communicate our differences, share our authenticity, and deliver our products and services in a way that is relevant today not yesterday.

The high achievers refuse to accept the status quo; they evolve and align opportunity for themselves and their businesses with the opportunities around them — and they do this all the time; they are restless. They will zig while others zag. They are agile, action-driven, and results-oriented. They are focused and directional — strong in commitment and decisive in vision.

Stagnation is not on their agenda, because a curiosity about the future, about ways to make the impossible possible is the only way to drive change. The businesses that keep their eye on the ultimate goal and also remain willing to change their dance as required to get there will be the ones that succeed.

As Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks a lot like work”.

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