No less than doctors and healthcare are practicing medicine than corporations are also practicing Business. We’ve not found perfection in either and while it’s no one’s fault, we must keep searching for optimization; the perfect blend of conscious design and a profitable approach.
Organizations typically use protocols or best practices (of the time) as their guiding script for action. Doing so allows individual and the collective workforce to understand expectations and while in the beginning, it’s necessary to exert additional energy, ultimately we learn the “new way”, which quickly dissipates to unconscious actions with very little energy utilized. In other words we can begin coasting. What are the costs of coasting as a person? What are the costs of coasting as a company? Leaders, we must sincerely and bravely dare to ask, “Is our organization coasting with the goal of stasis or evolving with the times? Have we institutionalized a growth mindset or a comfort and conformity mindset?”
How many of us just want to coast? Why strive? Why yearn for something better? Accept what is, right? It’s so much easier, isn’t it? OR, does this stagnate, mental-state steal away our individual and organizational spark, life and vigor?
The practice of operating unconsciously is both a blessing and a curse. The obvious blessing is that we save tremendous amounts of energy by having habituated our daily tasks. We don’t require near the focus and concentration we did when we were first learning the role.
The real threat here is one that exists in every person and consequently every organization is what happens when stasis or unconscious, habitual action is our end game? This tendency drives one toward comfort and protection of that comfort both of which, are a death sentence to growth. When stagnation and mediocrity become the status quo and everything new and outside of current practices are seen as a threat to the status quo, what kind of culture does this describe? A dying one, I believe. Some organizations we can see nearly dissolving in front of us.
One cannot thrive when the goals are to continue to do the same things over and over. We as people are simply not wired for repetition, but require novelty to increase and maintain energy in our lives and spirits. The sooner organizations become more employee-centric the sooner they will realize exponential growth. Employees automatically become more invested in an employer when the employer becomes more personally invested in them. Taking the time to understand an employee’s personal goals and values is an outstanding way to ensure (as an employer) we are providing the rewards and culture important to our talent. Practicing the actions that help employers get to know their employees individually and collectively creates the energetic bonds that lead to greater tolerance for complexity and adaptability; two central factors recognized for business success today.
The very simple and similarly very complex matter at hand is that most of our organizations are no longer aligned; not to organizational purpose or even what attracts and retains top talent. Ask any CEO today and he or she will tell you talent attraction, engagement and retention are the most serious and difficult strategic and competitive challenges they face.
Yet, to do something different, something would have to change. The question is, would you rather that change be designed by you or forced upon you. These are really the only two options; evolve and change with the times or do the same thing over and over and expect a different result.
Listen, I get it. Change is hard and while you initially may want to respond with “no thanks, its good enough”. What you may not remember or even know is what you are missing by not changing.
I invite you to think about it this way (and isn’t it all mental?). Think about when you first learned to drive a car or use a computer. You had to change how you thought and operated to be good at either and now you’re likely quite accomplished in both! This simple example demonstrates at first you didn’t know what you needed to know and with it came a little anxiety. However, over time the understanding came and came quickly, and what have become the new habits and ways of thinking are now enabling you to accomplish your goal(s)!
In other words, what once was seen as a huge hurdle, learning to drive or use a computer is now something you probably do unconsciously today. Looking back you can see that, the effort made long ago was exactly what made “the doing” so easy today.
We may have also noticed that when we get on the other side of a change we often think, why didn’t I do this sooner? Obviously, something keeps us from stepping out of our comfort zones. It’s time to start identifying what it is that may be keeping us stuck, be it intrapersonal or collectively be it People, Processes or Systems. It can only be one or a combination of all of these (which, it is for many of us).
Evaluating issues to be systemic, procedural or talent-based is a great beginning for coming to a conscious understanding of an approach designed to align with organizational purpose.
A consciously designed organization will reflect and be supported by talent, innovation and culture; made evident by passionately pursuing the highest good for all stakeholders.
When we face another hurdle whether it is a new job, better results for your team or starting a new business we can remember “what once was difficult, I now take for granted how easily I can do these things. My next challenge will be the same; a little extra effort and a lifetime of new skills and positive habits will be my reward. Besides… to date, I’ve already proven I can overcome any challenge I’ve faced. Right?!”
It’s time, have faith and start sooner to get what you desire. Otherwise, ask yourself what’s it costing you to stay the same?
By: Ryan McShane
Ryan McShane is the President/CEO of HR Evolution a local HR, Leadership Development and Career Consulting Company supporting individuals in career transition and businesses with HR, Workforce, Training and Leadership challenges.