Dr. Wayne Dyer is an American author and speaker who said, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.” How true!
Rethinking decisions is even more difficult than starting from a clean slate. That’s because it’s far more complex the second or third time. In fact, I have discovered that it could be up to seven times more difficult to rethink a challenge because it requires you to question everything, including your status quo and the conventional wisdom surrounding your current position. Adding to this difficulty is that it’s much easier to maintain a current decision than to change one.
The difficulty of rethinking is ironic because successful leaders are typically excellent thinkers and strategists. They know how to climb to success; and understand the specific steps required to get there. But these skills can create a sense of overconfidence that does not serve you well when you need to rethink a challenge, particularly if you don’t have a strategic framework to follow and if your market is rapidly changing.
What makes change so difficult anyway?
Change often requires you to vote for or against something or someone. For most, this is never easy. Let’s look at four of the most common challenges that hold back an organization’s health and growth:
Vision Challenge is when the organization’s primary purpose, “vision,” is not integrated throughout the organization. An organization’s management foundation is easily the most important because leadership impacts everything that ultimately happens. Great leaders know this, but an organization can lose its way over time by not developing new products and services based on its primary vision. This occurs when the organization inadvertently sends mixed signals to its market and customers by not reinforcing its core vision and strategy.
Avoidance Challenge is when the organization has adopted a “Don’t look attitude” toward anything that might be perceived as negative. When challenges come, leaders with this mindset tend to make quick decisions that satisfy their short-term goals but ignore their future. This short-term approach can suck the life out of any core organizational strategy when asked to do something it was never designed to accomplish. Smart strategy provides a solution for the organization’s short and long-term goals.
Prioritization Challenge is when the organization’s ratio of strategic projects and directions is not balanced against its financial and people resources. This third challenge makes it very difficult to manage the critical business intelligence required to fuel organized growth. Of course, being found at the top of your customers’ preferred provider list is a marketing director’s dream. However, when the economy takes a downturn, leaders often pull back rather than push ahead with new and big ideas.
Innovation Challenge is when the organization cannot keep pace with the speed of its marketplace. To rethink your organization’s next steps, you have to know what your competition offers so you can provide a set of innovative solutions.
These four challenges are the most common that organizations struggle with when their marketplace changes quickly; their competition changes with it, but they remain stuck in time because they refuse to rethink their strategies. Consider companies such as Blockbuster or Kodak that were once world leaders and are now out of business because they refused to rethink their central organizational strategy. This is why rethinking and not hiding from your problems is the starting point to continuing success.