“How can you identify the biggest problem faced by any organization? It’s the one that no one is willing to talk about!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
“Don’t bring that up!”
“Don’t talk about that!”
“You shouldn’t mention that!”
“We don’t want to talk about that!”
“It’s probably a good idea not to go down that path!”
I’ve long been stunned at the inability of organizations (and people!) to confront the big challenges that they face. It seems to be a strategy that if they don’t dare talk about the issues and challenges they face, then those very issues and challenges simply don’t exist. It’s a form of wishful thinking, driven by denial. Yet the first reality about aligning to the future is to acknowledge the future that might exist by talking about it openly – you can’t wish away the challenges and change that it might present.
With that in mind, here’s a helpful list of the excuses you can make as to why you shouldn’t talk about things!
- you don’t want to talk about the reality of the disruptive change that you are faced with
- you don’t want to challenge your team to think about the big, bold steps they need to be thinking about to get ahead in the era of acceleration
- you don’t want to acknowledge the new competition and new challenges that surround you
- you don’t think it is important to wake people out of their complacent slumber, thinking that tomorrow is going to be exactly like it is today
- you don’t want to talk about what you need to do to reinvent your product or service lines to keep up with the fact that what you currently sell is becoming old and obsolete
- you don’t want to talk about the opportunities that come from building an effective, collaborative, globally cooperative team
- you don’t want to think about why agility, flexibility, and fast response are critical success factors to survive and thrive tomorrow
- you don’t want to focus on why customer-oriented innovation is redefining your markets and redefining your product, and you don’t want to know why it is a critical wellspring for success
- you prefer to keep your staff and leadership team in the dark about the business model change occurring all around you
- you prefer not to acknowledge that maybe your current strategies might not work so well going forward into this fast, disruptive future
- you don’t want to understand how the pace of technological change now defines the future of your industry, and why your ability to align to Silicon Valley velocity is critical
- you don’t want to know what other companies are doing to ensure that IT is not just an infrastructure for transactions. but the lifeblood of your future
- you think that mediocrity is OK, a race to the bottom is a good race to be in, and it’s better to keep your people feeling comfortable and complacent rather than being somewhat scared and deadly motivated by acknowledging reality
- you think that Kodak, Blackberry, Blockbuster, Sears, Motorola had awesome, sustainable world-class business strategies
- you prefer not to know what world-class innovators are doing to keep up with the era of acceleration.
Don’t talk about it. Just keep doing what you are doing.
Go back to sleep.
Seriously, don’t talk about it.