Gravity is a powerful, yet can’t be seen force that pulls objects to earth. For a spaceship to break free of earth’s gravitational pull, scientists must work through the cycle of speed, fuel and weight that will allow for the needed thrust to break the barrier of earth’s atmosphere.
And just like planet earth, your business has a gravitational pull. There is a powerful, perpetual, always present, yet can’t be seen force that pulls the business back to the status quo. Many distributors don’t change. They continue to use identical business models of a decade ago despite the transformational changes around us. These distributors are faced with lack of differentiation, margin erosion and becoming irrelevant due to this gravitational pull to the status quo.
And what is the force behind this gravitational pull within our businesses? In most cases it is the weight of the past, which includes limited resources, limited vision and comfortable lifestyles of ownership, just to name a few. Gaining the speed and momentum to break free of this gravitational pull to the status quo within your business can seem equally as challenging as getting the shuttle into space. We too, must work through a cycle of speed, fuel and weight to make it happen. Here are three ways to achieve escape velocity and break this gravitational pull to the status quo:
Rediscover Your Why -The fuel and energy you have available to generate enough thrust to drive change will be directly related to your “Why.” At one point you thought big. You had a significant meaning for your businesses. Without significant meaning, we tire and begin to accept the status quo. One distributor owner recently told me, “We have to dream the dream again.”
Create a Crisis -“Many distributors don’t change,” one distributor CEO told me, “unless someone says, ‘We have to close a few branches.’” Crises create urgency and a need for speed. To break from the gravitational pull of the status quo, you can create your own crises. In Walter Issacson’s book, Steve Jobs, he described how Jobs could create a crisis:
“One day Jobs came into the cubicle of Larry Kenyon, an engineer who was working on the Macintosh operating system, and complained that it was taking too long to boot up.Kenyon started to explain, but Jobs cut him off.“If it could save a person’s life, would you find a way to shave 10 seconds off the boot time?” he asked. Kenyon allowed that he probably could Jobs went to a whiteboard and showed that if there were five million people using the Mac, and it took 10 seconds extra to turn it on every day, that added up to 300 million or so hours per year that people would save, which was the equivalent of at least 100 lifetimes saved per year.“Larry was suitably impressed, and a few weeks later he came back and it booted up 28 seconds faster.”
Help Others Become Uncomfortable -Yes! Help those in your business become uncomfortable. Innovation and change takes place at the edge of where we are comfortable and uncomfortable. To escape the weight of the past you can change things up. Rewrite job descriptions. Bring in a new employee with fresh ideas and insert them into the middle of the department. Bring new technology into the business. Do anything that helps your people go to the edge of where they are comfortable.
So how strong is the gravitational pull to the status quo in your business? It’s time you boldly led your team to the edge of what’s familiar — to those unexploited capabilities that await you.