Don't Be Trapped in the Past

“But, we’ve always done it this way!” How many times have you heard these words spoken over your business career? I think they are deadly and can stop growth and innovation cold!

If you’ve been reading these blogs for a while, you know that Cornelia and I frequently attend the ballet at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.  One of the best parts of the ballet season is that we get to experience productions from a wide variety of ballet companies—everything from the amazing New York City Ballet  to less traditional groups like one we saw recently—the Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

This is a group of very talented artists who danced that night to music by the legendary, David Bowie.  They describe their style as “a singular approach to reinventing dance through a groundbreaking mix of methods, styles, and cultures.”  Their idea is that dance should be about removing boundaries, not reinforcing them.  They’ve created a dance company that provides a place where” those who are passionate about dance can celebrate its past while simultaneously building its future.”

This company has been around for 23 years and their creators say they’ve “born witness to a world that is becoming more fluid, more changeable, and more culturally interconnected than ever before.”

Listening to Bowie’s music while watching these talented dancers—especially when they danced to his memorable song, “Changes” reminded me of the dangerous trap so many people fall into by wanting everything to stay the same. 

So, how does your organization keep from falling into the “We’ve always done it this way” mode? What can you learn from this artistic team of choreographers and dancers who see that the world is more “changeable and culturally interconnected than ever before”?

Change is never easy and we’ve seen during our business careers that the most important piece of making changes (which is really just doing things differently) in organizations is the communications process and it’s the piece of the process that gets missed most often.

If you’re going to change a process or policy or strategy, your employees need to know—before you start—why the change is necessary.  Then, during the change process, they need to hear from you and other leaders, how it’s going so you need to not only talk to them—you need to listen as well.  As far as I know, no employee has ever complained that their manager communicates too much so you can’t over do it!

Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity—“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”?  Is this what happen in your organization or are you open to changing how you do things in order to improve results? If you really want to succeed in our very complex world, be open to doing thing differently, just like the Complexions Contemporary Ballet and share with us what happens! And if this amazing dance company is ever in your city, go—it’s quite an experience!

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