Do you live by rules or conventions?

RN_rulesconventions_finance-role2 I recently spent time in the company of Dr Kaihan Krippendorff, an inspiring strategist I had the privilege to meet through the Gazelles Coaching program.

Kaihan is a business strategist, keynote speaker, consultant and best-selling author of four books, most recently Outthink the Competition. A former consultant with McKinsey & Company, he now writes one of the most popular blogs on, ‘Outthinkers’.

Over three days, we talked of many things, but one of the most powerful conclusions I drew after our time together was that most organisations are coming up against the ‘laws of nature’ in their decision-making process.

Most of the blockages for organisations revolve around what they won’t do (such as breaking a convention) rather than what they can’t do (challenging a law or rule).

If these organisations are unwilling to make a change due to their belief system, wanting to adhere to the accepted way of doing things, every opportunity for change and innovation will grind to a halt.

When people stay firm in their thinking even when evidence proves them wrong, this becomes incredibly frustrating for all team members, from the top down.

Consider short-sighted attitudes and practices such as:

  • Wrong team members – the leadership team has become ‘comfortable’ and may neither see, nor want to see, that the game is changing and so should they
  • Wrong leaders – perhaps current leaders are best suited to a different competitive environment. Maybe they prefer a classical, organic growth model, but the ground may have shifted and now a nimble and adaptive team is needed
  • Wrong vision – or perhaps, no vision. With a strong vision in place, you know where you are headed, but short-sighted organisations don’t have these beacons to work towards.

So, what is the solution?

One of my main tips is to keep a keen eye on trends and continue to ask: what does this mean for us? Watch for ideas in your industry that people are disputing or ignoring; these may soon be the new norm. Look at your competitors. Who is disrupting? Could their model, or even their product or service, be played successfully into your industry?