On a recent post, someone commented, “This is not a new concept….” He was absolutely right, I had traced an origin of an idea back to the 1950-60’s, so it is an idea that is at least 60-70 years old. I suspect if one read some philosophers or scientists, the idea might be traced back centuries (to satisfy your curiosity, it was my post on the 5 Why’s.)
The comment got me reflecting. We have a fascination with that which appears new and different, we are attracted to bright shiny objects. It’s a lot like the fashion industry, every year, that which was “new and fashionable” is displaced by something newer
We have file drawers, or terabytes of cloud storage with all those artifacts of the past. Past training programs, last year’s tools (which we never used anyway), many things that were highly effective and some which weren’t are no longer valid, displaced by this year’s version.
It is no longer fashionable to talk about sales enablement, now it’s revenue enablement. Challenger, consultative selling, value based selling is all so “yesterday.” Critical thinking is being displaced by artificial intelligence (though so much of what people purported to be intelligent has always seemed artificial).
Pundits, guru’s, “thought leaders,” continue to look for next year’s model—what are the sexiest techniques, tricks, methods for 2021, 2022?
Yet, we aren’t doing better. Our performance continues to decline, our ability to connect with our customers gets more difficult. We create less value with our customers, so they look at different places. Our ability to retain our people us worse.
We face accelerating change, disruption, complexity. We face mounting uncertainty and risk. We face things we and our customers have never experienced.
What if we went back to the basics? What if we focused less on the new and different, but focus on those foundations that we know have always worked?
Every season, every sports team and athlete always starts with the basics. Basketball teams start with basic fitness, dribbling, passing, footwork. Soccer is the same. Football, baseball, tennis, cycling, endurance athletes all do the same thing.
Regardless how experienced they are, regardless of past championships, they always go back to fundamentals, making sure they master those, then moving forward.
In some sense, basic principles, are like the laws of physics. They have endured for centuries. They are the foundation of everything that we do, they are the “Why” that underlies those things that we know to work.
As we look to improve performance, it’s useful to go back to the fundamentals and basics. It’s useful to go back to foundations and fundamentals, understanding them, adapting them for our current situations, executing them with consistency and discipline.
Instead, we spend a lot of time focusing on the “bright shiny objects.” We look at tricks and techniques, we look for the short cuts to success. They work, sometimes. But the challenge is, they don’t work consistently. In fact, increasingly, the short cuts, tricks, techniques, are no longer working like they used to.
Sometimes, what is old is new.