Comfort, Adaptability and Winning at Business
Another thought about the role of comfort in business. I keep being struck
with how often it functions in an orthogonal, if not opposing, manner to
working strategically and winning at the game of business.
Hm… first sentence and I already wrote that to nicely.
How about saying it this way:
“Be very careful about doing or supporting others doing what’s comfortable…
check that it really is aligned with working, managing strategically, with the
end goal in mind… otherwise it may mean you or they will not survive.”
For a similar perspective, check out Alan Webber’s book, Rules of Thumb:
52 Truths for Winning at Business without Losing Your Self. It seems that
when we lose the sense of being in touch with survival needs, we get feeling
insulated, we rationalize not needing to adapt, not needing to respond, not
needing to take the extra steps.
This last week I was peering at a man’s face, as his body lay crumpled on the
street, his eye fixed wide open, someone feeling for his pulse, someone else
calling 911. He had walked across a busy highway at night, instead of
walking the extra 50 feet down to the light ahead of us. He didn’t survive,
but he did what was comfortable… until it suddenly wasn’t.
I worked with customers from two different governments this week. Both
are slow to get even basic strategy tracking and resulting action plans
implemented. Both would be dead on the street if they had to face a car
bearing down on them. It is easy to get caught up in working on what’s
urgent, and getting things done that are immediate, but without a
clear strategy and the outcome in mind, you may find you’re spinning
your wheels instead of getting ahead.
How nimble is your business, how much does doing what’s strategic, what
ensures survivability, rank over comfort?
Staying in touch with the need to survive, is a great antidote to over-
emphasizing comfort in how we engage in life at work. In fact, losing
touch with survival needs makes us all too complacent, protective and
non-adaptive in a world that often rewards the one who adapts the quickest.