There Is No Future In The Status Quo

There is no future in the status quo . . . Just ask Sears, Blockbuster, Novatel, Blackberry, Nokia, and the list goes on and on!

There is no future in doing things the way we have always done them! Status quo always ends in irrelevance and obsolescence!

As business leaders we need to continuously challenge ourselves and our organizations to innovate and improve. We need to shake up our industries and stop doing things because we have always done them that way. Rather, we need to start doing the right things smarter, more cost effective, more rapid, and error free!

For example, in the project engineering world, projects have continuously escalated in cost over the years. We have all heard of projects that started at $X billion and ended up costing 2 or 3 times $X billion! Now there are many reasons for this (refer to my mega-project article) but one of the major reasons is that we are simply not challenging the status quo. Instead, we doing things the way we have always done them . . . it seems more comfortable that way because change is uncomfortable!

Although an engineering project today has basically the same objectives as an engineering project 20 years ago, how we get from start to finish needs to be fundamentally changed! Engineering companies need to step back and re-evaluate their businesses to remove legacy mindsets, legacy tools, and outdated processes while implementing new and relevant ones.

Take the automation engineering world as an example. It is undergoing dramatic change because of technologies like:

How Can We Make Projects Anti-Fragile?

Nassim Taleb has written a book entitled Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder  in which he basically defines fragile, robust and anti-fragile as;

  • Fragile – things that are harmed by volatility (e.g., glass bowl, economy, etc.)
  • Robust – things that are not harmed or helped by volatility (e.g., a rock)
  • Anti-fragile – things that thrive and improve with volatility (e.g., athletes with exercise gain strength and skill, entrepreneurs gain experience and resilience, etc.)

You can find a good summary of the concepts in his book in this video interview at .

According to Taleb, the more we interfere with systems to prop them up and eliminate unpredictability and try to smooth things out (i.e., take out the booms and busts of an economy) the more fragile and unstable that system gets. He uses the US economy extensively as an example and illustrates how bailing it out with programs like Quantitive Easing has really only made it that much more volatile and unstable. He states that “man-made complex systems tend to develop cascades and runaway chains of reactions that decrease, even eliminate, predictability and cause outsized events.” Essentially, as the systems that man creates grow larger, they become so complex we cannot control them. In fact, our attempts to control them only make them more volatile and likely to self destruct through a runaway chain of reactions.