“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
I like using quotes from Einstein because they make me think. I think the quote above is just the nuclear physicist genius way of saying “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Unfortunately, that seems like the accepted way of approaching problems for most leaders.
Not long ago I was working with a company whose key issue was growth. They had been attempting to reach customers and prospects via the same marketing channels that they’d been using for decades. After talking about how important growth was, and about how they were actually losing sales, their initial idea to fix it was to try harder at doing the same marketing that already wasn’t working. Their initial conclusion was, “This message isn’t successful in selling our products to Bob, so let’s try using the same message to sell our products to Bob only we’ll just do it more often.”
That sounds ridiculous, but ask yourself this: In your organization, how many times have you done this? It may not be the same scenario, but we’re constantly responding to issues caused by bad processes or bad people or changing marketplaces or any number of other things by doing more of the thing that already isn’t working. Stop it already!
If you want your results to change, you have to change your behaviors. You can’t treat customers today the way you did in the past, you can’t treat employees the way you did in the past, you can’t think about your business model the way you did in the past – I could keep going but you get the point. We have to rethink and reinvent everything we do on a regular basis.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to make revolutionary changes to everything you do every few weeks. Sometimes it’s just incremental change, sometimes you’ve hit on something that lasts longer. What it means, though, is that you’ve got to constantly approach how you run your organization with the mindset of continuous improvement – we’re always going to try and do things better today than we did yesterday, and better again tomorrow.
Is that already your mindset? Do you approach every facet of your business with a desire to change and improve? You’ve got new problems – time for some new thinking.