The tyranny of the status quo

By evoke
September 12, 2011

The ability to be creative and innovative – even in small doses – is a remarkable quality in a company. Does your corporate culture embrace or crush creativity and innovation? Here are a couple of great pieces on the tyranny of the status quo from Seth Godin’s blog to help you through that introspection.

The warning signs of defending the status quo

By Seth Godin

When confronted with a new idea, do you:

  • Consider the cost of switching before you consider the benefits?
  • Highlight the pain to a few instead of the benefits for the many?
  • Exaggerate how good things are now in order to reduce your fear of change?
  • Undercut the credibility, authority or experience of people behind the change?
  • Grab onto the rare thing that could go wrong instead of amplifying the likely thing that will go right?
  • Focus on short-term costs instead of long-term benefits, because the short-term is more vivid for you?
  • Fight to retain benefits and status earned only through tenure and longevity?
  • Embrace an instinct to accept consistent ongoing costs instead of swallowing a one-time expense?
  • Slow implementation and decision making down instead of speeding it up?
  • Embrace sunk costs?
  • Imagine that your competition is going to be as afraid of change as you are? Even the competition that hasn’t entered the market yet and has nothing to lose…
  • Emphasize emergency preparation at the expense of a chronic and degenerative condition?
  • Compare the best of what you have now with the possible worst of what a change might bring?

Calling it out when you see it might give your team the strength to make a leap.

Top ways to defend the status quo

By Seth Godin

  • “That will never work.”
  • “… That said, the labor laws make it difficult for us to do a lot of the suggestions [you] put out. And we do live in a lawsuit oriented society.””
  • “Can you show me some research that demonstrates that this will work?”
  • “Well, if you had some real-world experience, then you would understand.”
  • “I don’t think our customers will go for that, and without them we’d never be able to afford to try this.”
  • “It’s fantastic, but the salesforce won’t like it.”
  • “The salesforce is willing to give it a try, but [major retailer] won’t stock it.”
  • “There are government regulations and this won’t be permitted.”
  • “Well, this might work for other people, but I think we’ll stick with what we’ve got.”
  • “We’ll let someone else prove it works… it won’t take long to catch up.”
  • “Our team doesn’t have the technical chops to do this.”
  • “Maybe in the next budget cycle.”
  • “We need to finish this initiative first.”
  • “It’s been done before.”
  • “It’s never been done before.”
  • “We’ll get back to you on this.”
  • “We’re already doing it.”

All quotes actually overheard, or read on blogs/comments about actual good ideas.

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