There is no going back

There is absolutely no chance in hell of going back to what was.

There is no going back
Photo by Jakayla Toney / Unsplash

We all get comfortable with the status quo. If things appear to be fine in the moment, why then rock the boat?

The problem is that we don't actually perceive the change around us accurately and get lulled into a false sense of security and complacency.  

Clever people that study human behaviour refer to this dangerous condition of the human mind as the 'boiling frog' phenomenon.

We mental struggle to see the gradual changes that are affecting us, until it to too late and the change engulfs us in catastrophe.

In business the boiling frog phenomenon is what famously happened to Kodak and Blackberry and countless other organisations that simply became irrelevant without them even realising it was happening. They failed to perceive the change and got killed.

To counter this flaw in our psyche it is vital that change and the strategy that we estimate will deliver us to the change we want, is fully-committed to.

Commitment means that collectively everyone in an organisation agrees that no matter what - there is absolutely no chance in hell of going back to what was.

No chance. Once a decision has been made - that's it.

Famously, basketball superstar Michael Jordan once said about committing to strategy:

“Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again.” - Michael Jordon

A lot of company strategy is a waste of time and money because leadership fails to draw a line in the sand and commit to the plan.

It's understandable in many ways because strategy is related to the future, and the future is uncertain. People perceive then that it's better stick with the reality that they know, rather than venture into the unknown.

'Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.' - as they say.

It's for this reason that strategic plans should be very thoroughly constructed and informed by credible evidence about the future.

People need to be given good reasons to believe in the future plan to better facilitate this commitment otherwise the lure of the present status quo will overpower the strategy.

The need for ritual

Just like getting engaged is a ritual between two people and signifies a huge change in each of their lives which is difficult to undo, committing to a new plan for the future should ideally be accompanied by a ritual.

Ritual symbolises in our minds a time before a decision what committed to, and a time after the commitment was made. It's a line in the sand - a mental break from the old, into the new.

When change happens as fast as it does today, the boiling frog phenomenon is a dangerous mindset. Being aware that this thinking is our default response to change it an important first step. Ensuring commitment is achieved to the uncertain path ahead is what should follow next.