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What Got Us Here Won’t Get Us To Where We Need To Be

by David Brock on December 16th, 2021

Part of what enables us to achieve is our experience and past success. Stated differently, we tend to repeat the things we have always done because they worked for us in the past.

This is both a good and bad news principle. The good news side of it is that understanding what works, systematizing it, repeating and scaling it enables us to continue to perform and grow. Leveraging our past experience, systematizing it, doing it repeatedly, becomes second nature. We don’t have to think about it, we have developed the habits and it becomes easy. It would be foolish to start from scratch on every initiative, disregarding our past experience–both of what does and doesn’t work/produce results. Leveraging our past experience, systematizing it, doing it repeatedly,

At the same time, our past experience can limit us. It can blind us to new and different approaches that may be more effective and efficient. It can blind us to changes around us that cause what we do to be less effective or efficient.

When we discover that our past experience and methods are no longer as effective as they should be, we encounter a problem. We have to change. And change brings up all sorts of emotions. It’s uncomfortable, we move from what’s familiar or comfortable, what we know and trust, what has gotten us to where we are and has been the basis of our success to date.

We have to do something new or different. We don’t know how well it will work, we may have limited experience with these things. There is a risk–making a mistake, choosing the wrong course of action, not executing as effectively as we need to. It is uncomfortable, we are filled with uncertainty, and it isn’t easy. We have to be attentive to the smallest details, we have to experiment and learn.

All of this makes us reluctant to change, even when we know we must.

There are few organizations and industries not facing massive disruption and change. Our customers are changing how they buy, profoundly. Their business models are transforming, moving to models embracing recurring revenue, digital delivery, and consumption models.

Our own business models are changing as well, in ways similar to those we see our customers changing.

The expectations of our people and what they look for in “work,” is shifting in ways that have made the Great Resignation one of the hottest issues we all face.

We see disruption and turbulence all around us. And we see the impact within our organizations with greater challenges around engagement, quota attainment, customer loyalty, and growth.

And everyone and every organization is facing similar challenges.

Our past experience is becoming less helpful as we face these new challenges. We can no longer cling to what worked in the past, because we see these things are no longer effective. We have to look at doing things differently.

We must redefine our business models and organizational structures–for example, the traditional siloed functions of marketing, sales, customer service are not aligned with how our customers want to be engaged and engage us.

Our talent models need to be reinvented. We have to rethink the nature of work, how it gets done, and the people/skills needed to do the work. We have to rethink how we engage people, creating workplaces where people want to work and contribute.

We have to reinvent our customer engagement processes, our methods, tools, metrics. We have to rethink roles/responsibilities and how we work with our partners and customers.

We cannot continue doing the same things because those don’t work when everything they were designed around have changed.

What has gotten us to where we are now, is increasingly failing to get us where we want and need to be. We have to rethink and reinvent virtually everything we do.

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