Imagine yourself on the ocean, coming into port during a dark and stormy night. You chart a course toward port, using the same tools and logic system you originally learned. Doing your job the same way you have always done your job.
You never think to ask yourself whether your professional confidence has grown into professional complacency. You become comfortable doing the same things, the same way you always do things. No matter what changes around you.
A light appears on the horizon. Another ship, you assume. Yet, their course brings them into the middle of the course you plotted to navigate to shore. You signal them to move, to change their course. Because you are dead set in maintaining yours, sailing the same way you always have sailed into port.
As the light on the horizon gets closer, the ship signals you back that they cannot change their course. And that it is up to you to change your course, in order to get to where you need to go. Annoyed, you signal back to that cheeky ship. Once again requesting that they change their course so you can continue to sail in the same direction, in the same manner you have become used to sailing. And, once again, that stubborn ship signals back to you. Strongly reinforcing that they cannot, and will not, consider changing their position. It appears that they, too, are strongly committed to staying their own course to get to where they need to go.
Now, with frustrated finality, you signal to the ship: “I am a warship. If you are a lesser ship, I will destroy you. Move out of the way so I can proceed undisturbed.”
With absolute finality, you receive their response: “I am a lighthouse. Either change your course or run aground and destroy yourself.”
At that point, and only at that point, you realize professional complacency, comfortable habits and biased mindset are impediments to forward progress.
While you steadfastly maintain your position, your senses are tuned out to changes in your environment. And, in our continuously changing 4th Industrial Revolution business environments, these are continuous changes.
Nothing is ever quite the same as we left it, yesterday. In spite of our efforts to administer and manage the details. Because our environments are complex. When one element changes, it impacts every other element in our ecosystem. In spite of our best, most steadfast efforts to stay the course and maintain our status quo.
Professional complacency does not prevent Change. You just become even more myopic.
First, consider whether you would have run your ship aground, to prove the course you set was the one and only right course to pursue.
Then, consider whether your crew is willing to be sacrificed for your professional comfort. Do they notice something wrong, yet are afraid to speak up because you intimidate them?
Also, ponder the cost of professional complacency to your company. How many ships have you scuttled because of your comfortable solutions, which may not be relevant to the context of the problem.
Finally, where can you go, professionally, if you get out of your own way? And choose to do things differently: today, tomorrow and in the future. To get to where you really need to go: together.
The choice is yours. Stay your current course. Or, take small, one millimeter steps beyond professional complacency to build trust and lead to retain employees and clients. Together. Otherwise, watch out for those lighthouses….
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My One Millimeter Mindset™ virtual and in-person keynotes, workshops, coaching and mastermind programs translate across strategic communication and collaboration disconnects between people and professional disciplines. Build trust. Retain employees and clients. Optimize strategic business and human capital value in your organizations. Get everyone to where they need to go. Together. One millimeter at a time. My playbook of communication tools and methods, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.
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