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 Engineering companies need to step back and re-evaluate their businesses to remove legacy mindsets, legacy tools, and outdated processes while implementing new and relevant ones.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:
All business leaders today are looking for ways to decrease costs, while increasing productivity and profit. Many businesses today are taking a one time profitability boost by reducing costs at the expense of the employees.
Cost cutting always seems to be the first action taken by companies as they try to increase their profit. I understand that some businesses are in trouble and this may be their only recourse. However, many businesses rely on this cost lever rather than looking at all the other options available to increase profitability.
Most people know that Henry Ford was quite famous for piloting the assembly line factory and for increasing the productivity of his factories. But did you know that he was able to simultaneously increase profits while decreasing production costs, increasing productivity, and increasing employee’s wages?
Have you ever played the game “Would You Rather? It’s a game where you ask the question; “Would you rather do X or Y?” It is usually a younger, more “silly” crowd that plays it . . . like my own kids when they were teenagers. They could entertain themselves for hours with outlandish “would you rather” scenarios!
I recently was at a conference where Andy Moore was speaking and he challenged the crowd with the statement; “we can take a path of preservation or a path of innovation.“ You cannot do both. You must choose one or the other.
This really made me think about business leaders and the seemingly innocuous decisions that we make every day that shapes our destiny and the destiny of our businesses and our employees.
Any business that chooses to take the path of preservation rather than the path of innovation will die. Preservation may seem like the safe path because it is the path of least resistance. It may be the path that is the least painful up front. However, it is the path to irrelevancy and decay.
Preservation = Death
What do you think about when you think of the word preservation? Treated lumber is preserved. Petrified wood is preserved. Fossils are preserved. Mammoths are preserved. Egyptian mummies are preserved. And all these preserved things are dead! The path of preservation inevitably ends in death.
There is no future in the status quo. There is no future in preservation!
Innovation = Hope!