That relentless inventor and producer of numerous quotable sayings, Thomas A Edison said: "There is a better way to do it - find it!" The equally articulate great physicist, Albert Einstein, put it another way. He said: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result".
I said in an earlier posting that there is no such thing as the status quo. True, but there are many who devote all their energies to trying to maintain the impossible. On a purely personal note, I love traditions and rituals but accept that as time passes, subtle changes occur which do not in any way diminish them, but rather enhance them.
Once again it is that acceptance of the inevitability of change that many find so difficult, and change can be effected in many ways both subtle and dramatic.
Lee Thayer, one of our great Vistage speakers from the USA, says that dramatic change is necessary in many instances in order to achieve dramatic results. The concept of the BHAG (big hairy audacious goals - slightly modified) can deliver a shock to the system which can materially change thinking both in an individual and also a business.
There is a need to get over the "it will never work" syndrome and once that is achieved, the world opens up and things start to happen.
On the other hand, the Japanese concept of kai-zen, incremental change, has been shown to be of great value and certainly, most people find it far more acceptable. In some cases they don't even notice that it is happening.
Combine that with a relentless search for the better way to do it and great results can be achieved. It is the leader's responsibility to demonstrate to the team that this is the desired and achievable reality, at the same time eliminating the fear of failure.
Edison said that he hadn't failed; he had just found 10,000 ways that won't work. If we take on the idea that failure is merely a step on the road to success and sell that to the team, then we won't go far wrong.
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