Willing to Change or Protecting those Willful Blindness Goggles?

Psychologically humans like the status quo.  We like our same seat at the dinner table, or our same seat in a classroom.  We are creatures of habit. Sadly, the ‘status quo’ also often gets in the way of success in organizations.

Sometimes it is as simple as “passing the buck”. This is an old term, but it still is relevant. When we are aware that something horrifying is happening at our place of work, or maybe “horrifying” is too strong a word, do we feel like we can speak out about it?

Some of us believe that when a product fails or a business fails, that it is a natural process best not dealt with or worried over.   Unless you happen to be relying on that particular industry to feed your family or pay the mortgage.

Are you one of the people who say “if the company had done more market research, put other modern technology into place, modernized the factory…or whatever, the business wouldn’t have gone under”? Well let me ask, have you ever been given a new more efficient tool at work and yet continued to use the older tool because you knew how and it was easier for you?

Do you believe it is important to help business survive or are you on the other side which says it is just a process of evolution—survival of the fittest. That’s the fundamental question because if you believe it, then you make a conscious decision to do something about it.  If not, you don your blinders.

If you shrug your shoulders, putting on your blinders, then you likewise must accept the consequences.

Ask yourself, “What can I do to make sure my business doesn’t end up with a staff with ‘willful blinders’ on?”   Can I have employees looking the other way while profits dip inch by inch, or highly qualified employees come in and go out just as quickly? Can a business with an open system allow itself to become a closed system with no innovative thought or creativity or initiative? Letting oneself “see” often times needs to be rewarded or appreciated.  There is much comfort to gain for employees who can’t sit quietly going through their ho-hum day without any challenges.

I would like to share the following video with you.   Take a moment and consider how Josh (a high school student) developed an innovative response to school bullying and the rewards he reaped from this simple solution and his intentional daily commitment to his strategy.

Leaders have to provide opportunities for innovative thinking! The guy in the back of the room who gingerly raises his hand after brave contemplation and presents an innovative idea cannot be quickly shot down by leadership because the ideas presented involve change or involve thinking about the old picture in a new way. We need to be open to employees’ suggestions.

Yes of course it is often easier to allow natural death of a company or an idea, than to have to unbridle new thinking and inject a business with new thought and imagination. But is the outcome worth it?

The culture of any company begins with educating and trusting employees. However, employees who have experience, time under their belt in a company, often just want to do things as they always have. They know things could be more efficient, or they know that things are more expensive done a certain way, but learning the new way takes time, effort and new training, so they become willfully blind to these facts and continue with the status quo accepting the margin of added dollars in the budget to do things “the old way”.

If everyone believed this way we would be wearing our blinders while we dip our pens in ink to write!

Getting everyone more comfortable and used to learning new things, and new ways of doing things, insures the life- blood of a company or organization. Employees who become accustomed to change keep a company alive.

Companies are organic. They need to breathe and change. Change in a company is implemented daily, even in the smallest of organizations.

Change comes through its people.

Are you encouraging those people to willingly change, or do you, yourself, dig your feet in and refuse, even if it means you might lose your job?