Your choice in radio stations says a lot about your drive for changeAug 4th, 2012 by Rick Haynes.
When I was driving this morning I decided to change radio stations with the dial rather than with a button. I generally listen to the same few stations in my car. The first station I hit was playing songs from my High School and College days. It was wonderful. So I tried to turn it again and found a second station playing the Genre I normally listen to, but it was a different selection of songs, some that I had not heard before.
I believe that I was satisfied with my normal stations, which play a specific set of songs, because it was comfortable and did not play many songs that I did not like. But, the down side of this decision was that I found I was missing things that I forgot that I enjoyed and was not hearing enough new music to expand my preferences. I think a person that only listens to their MP3 player or iPod is worse off than me because they will not hear a new song at all.
How does this relate to our work environment. In our jobs, we avoid pain and problems by trying to keep the status quo in place. Changing when it is imperative. When we operate in this “safe” manner, we may miss opportunities to improve from OK to great. I think it is like me only using the radio buttons to change stations rather than spinning the dial to try something new. Every business needs a safe way to try new ideas. Pilot test these ideas to see if they might bring a better result. If the new idea is found to be non-beneficial, at least you know it now and do not have to consider it again.
It is almost like “Good enough” is a bad place to be in business. Unwilling to risk falling backwards to a level that nothing new is attempted. This concept is discussed in many of Jim Collins‘ books such as “Good to Great” and “How the Mighty Fall”
This is a concept on my mind this weekend because I am working with a client next week in an effort to develop a new method to identify improvement efforts. One of my worries is that the company is big and successful, so that there is a lot of momentum and culture that will resist any changes. I am working on finding stories that may balance the internal cultural storage so the working group will be open to change. The radio example above will be one of them.
I also pulled up the scores from their local Hockey team and found an 0 to 8 loss, of which I am going to treat like a monthly sales report. Should it be treated as a crisis or should they live with it. In hockey terms it is fire the coach or keep the coach. When the overall scoring is put in a control chart and capability analysis, the 0 to 8 loss is within the capability of the team, and no one should over react.
Another story might be vacation choices. Some people buy a cabin or a time share and always go to the same place, while others go different places every vacation. With a little research, I expect the people who go to the same place every year tend to resist changes at work too. If I find this to be true, I will write on it again.