The Most Dangerous Cliché in Business And In Life
It’s ‘the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant or the scared’. It is without doubt the most dangerous cliché in business. I fall victim to its seductive smile more often than I’ll admit. Are you a victim too? If so, get ready for failure. Read on.
Tim came to see me looking for opportunity. “The most ridiculous belief in business is to think that ‘if you build it, they will come.’ It’s absolute crap.” That made me sit up. I had not thought of that. I liked what he said. It made me think about other expressions and sayings that we use glibly that in fact are absolutely wrong.
Moments ago, looking through my Possums ‘ideas’ file here at my 4am kitchen table (flying to Brisbane in a couple of hours and can’t sleep) I have stumbled upon what iconic football coach Ange Postecoglou told our leadership meeting 15 months ago. He’d coached the Brisbane Roar to a world record run of games undefeated. Yet he told us this startling truth, and ‘outed’ the most dangerously wrong cliché of all time:
“If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” – this is the most dangerous belief to survival.
‘The slogan of the complacent, the arrogant or the scared.’ That’s what Ange called it. Powerful hey! Think about it. There is nothing more dangerous than a great last result. Things seem fine. Business is on track. The numbers are coming in. You’re wanted and needed. Your phone is ringing and people want you in their meetings. You’re feeling pretty comfortable.
STOP AND THINK. Think of these five things.
1. Only the paranoid survive. I am lucky. There’s nothing in life more paranoid than a PR guy. So I am constantly thinking worst case scenarios, questioning the next step, fretting about the future. It’s the first rule of crisis management- plan for the situation to get worse. When things are going really well, I start getting butterflies. Actor of old David Niven used the expression in his life: ” When the garden is in full bloom- watch out! That’s when the weeds are quietly growing.”
2. Embrace EBNE. Edward De Bono’s invented word for our age; EBNE- Excellent, But Not Enough. Whatever you have going right- analyze it. How can you make it better? How can you improve, get more competitive, sharper, more effective?
3. Action beats reaction. We had a business in a smaller city. I was counseled that it’s future was dim. But the results were good! I put it out of my mind. The business suddenly went bad. We closed it. It hurt us. We reacted extremely fast and efficiently. But if we’d taken action earlier, we could have exited with far less pain. Take action proactively to drive needed change.
4. Skate to where the puck is going to be. Keep thinking about what is going to be needed and wanted in the future… a year away, three years. Think about how you can start innovating and evolving now so you are ready to be ‘in the right place at the right time.’ Usually does not happen by luck. Make sure you’re traveling towards where you need to be to get opportunity, action, a warm embrace.
5. Remember David Tudehope. The entrepreneur who built a powerful telecommunications business who told me the secret to his success: “It’s the ability to adapt and change that underpins success.”
So- what to do about this?
Not sure really. I am as complacent as the next and have so many things ‘going a bit wrong’ that I kind of shake thinking I need to also get paranoid about the things going right! So first up, I am not going to over-react. But I will give it thought, maybe this way. Think about your role, business, health, relationships. Think about the most important things in your lives and you careers. Perhaps settle on a couple of aspects that you feel are going pretty well. And then use the five ideas and thoughts above to do a bit of due diligence on that aspect. It might not be broke, but could it do with a little fixing? Remember- action beats reaction.
Any other clichés you reckon are absolute rubbish and simply WRONG?
What do you think? “If you build it, they will come.” CRAP! “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” RUBBISH!!! Any more to throw into the ring? (Is that a cliché? Oh well, let’s move forward….)