Albu On Strategy

5 Reasons the Status Quo is Not Enough

The Status quo is defined as the current or existing state of affairs.  To maintain the status quo is to keep things the way they are.  Isn’t that the easier way?  Wouldn’t it be nice if we all could just keep things the way they are and not change?

Unfortunately, the world does not work that way and 2020 has made it even more obvious because the pandemic has caused unthinkable havoc to our communities and the global economy.  As a result the business environment no longer resembles the status quo. Competitors are changing, government policies are in flux, and consumers and customers are placing more demands on manufacturers and suppliers.  This is why the status quo is not enough and organizations need to adapt to the realities of the markets they compete in.   This brings us to the opposite of status quo, or the anti-status quo.  Literally it means to refuse to compromise with the status quo.  To experience the anti-status quo is to make a conscious decision to reject the herd mentality and stand out from the competition for the good of the business and its stakeholders namely owners, investors, employees, and customers.

Here are five reasons why businesses get stuck in the status quo.  One thing is certain; these five business killers will stand in your way from making the changes you need to win in today’s business environment.  

Lack of strategic thinking

Does your leadership team know where they what the company to be in 3-5 years, and what choices they need to make in order to achieve their vision? Without strategic thinking there is no company strategy. Leaders need to understand what changes are needed to achieve their vision, otherwise the organization will default to the status quo.

Strategy without execution is aimless

Organizations spend time and energy planning strategy, but little time translating those plans to specific action and creating the discipline needed to follow through on those actions.  Without investing time in strategy execution, the tendency of most organizations is to relapse to the status quo.  Make strategic initiatives explicit and assign activities to specific employees with measurable outcomes to get the results you want.

Distaste for risk

Maintaining the status quo can be driven by a fear of taking risk.  A risk taker is one that is willing to accept the consequences of a decision.  We do not suggest reckless behavior, however, we do recommend measured risk as an important ingredient to moving beyond the status quo. 

Excusing mediocre performance

Do not excuse sub-par performance.  Mediocre suggests that the job was done, but not very well.  As leaders, it is your responsibility to establish a set of expectations that will drive exceptional performance.  Employees will rise up when given clear direction on what good performance looks like, while underperformers will become quite visible as well. 

Avoidance of accountability

Without accountability, the status quo will creep in and smother any attempt at change.  Accountability needs to flow top down and peer-to-peer.  Do all your employees know what is expected of each other and the related dependencies?  Do your employees hold each other accountable?  Are they calling out missed commitments, and are you rewarding those that meet and exceed expectations? 

It is often difficult to move beyond the status quo.  It can be frightening and threatening to some because of its uncertainty and the risks it might entail.  Yet, in today’s turbulent environment, the status quo is not enough. 

What are your experiences dealing with the challenges of driving change in your organization?  What have you done to overcome these challenges? 

Please share this newsletter with your clients and associates as you see fit.

Peter Drucker: His book The Change Leader

“One cannot manage change. One can only be ahead of it. In a period of upheavals, such as the one we are living in, change is the norm. To be sure, it is painful and risky, and above all it requires a great deal  of very hard work. But unless it is seen as the task of the organization to lead change, the organization will not survive.”

Posted in Newsletter, Strategy Development, Strategy Management.