Status Quo is your real enemyTags: business strategy, challenging the status quo, erik vermeulen, keep calm and carry on, posters, status quo
Have you seen those “Keep Calm And Carry On” memes and posters lately? They’re everywhere. They’ve been plastered all over the internet and even made their way into some of our home décor stores. In the incredibly competitive and ever-changing business world, it is sometimes hard to just “Keep Calm and Carry On”, but many businesses still conduct business that way. If this wartime slogan is your company’s, then it might be time for a few adjustments.
When in the process of making a change or deciding on doing something new, executive teams often do SWOT-analysis where all pros and cons are carefully weighed up against each other in order to make the least risky decision.
The problem is, the status quo is also risky.
In an environment that is always evolving, failing to assess the risk of status quo doesn’t necessarily mean that risks won’t materialize. It does however mean that your organisation won’t be prepared when it does happen. You therefore have an obligation to address this.
There are ways to introduce change without completely spooking employees.
Have a close look at your strategy
Bring your strategic planning back to your current strategy. Liane Davey from the Harvard Business Review suggests that you frame questions in terms of what customers want. If the customers haven’t really changed much, point to changes in external environments that will have an effect on your business such as changes on the political front or new economic governmental changes.
Develop a risk profile
If you’ve assessed the risk of your strategy options in terms of operational risk, market risk and so on, do the same for the current strategy.
Build research boundaries
When team members keep asking questions and stalling on decision-making, it can help to call attention to the indecisiveness. Decisions in our changing world need to be made fast and stalling won’t help.
Nip politics in the bud
Employees often also resist change due to self-interest and territory issues. Ask yourself and your employees what your competitors are doing.
Samsung is a fantastic example of an organization that embraced and tackled change and the status quo head on. We’ve seen how they’ve gained on Apple in terms of product quality user-friendliness. The war between Android and Mac is bigger than ever with Samsung winning over more support.
People in general hate change and prefer living in, and making “the default” choice. We all follow the crowd to a great extent, often blindly, and we follow so-called experts.
When things change slowly, people accept the new “setting” as the default, and it takes a lot of effort and pain before people change.
Think of a couple’s relationship that slowly deteriorates over time. Soon one or both parties believe that this is how all relationships are an accept it. They make no effort to change.
Similarly, in business environments, people accept “the way we do things here” as the default and hate to change. The devil we know is better than the devil we don’t know. We accept the way things are. It’s dangerous. We’re afraid of expending the energy required to change and we’re more scared of losing something than the thrill of gaining something different or better.
Think again of Samsung vs. Apple. How different things would have been for them if they didn’t decide to make drastic changes to their products and provide stiff competition for Apple.