What if our expertise keeps us stuck in the status quo?
Have you ever dug your heels in, knowing that your way was the right way? And why shouldn’t you? After all – you have decades of experience, you’ve been there and done that and you know what works, and what doesn’t.
The challenge is that all of that experience is based on our past. Today’s markets and economy don’t exactly follow yesterday’s rules, now does they?
Yet all too often we humans will hang on to what we know, even in the face of a potentially breakout advance. Here’s an example.
I was meeting last week with a number of experts in the areas of sales, marketing, product development and technology. They shared their approaches, all of which were pretty much B School textbook and well accepted beliefs. They had a super foundation to expand and evolve.
I was there to share how we can use the powerful new research on how our minds control our thinking and behaviors to effect breakout changes that drive business advantage – in our markets, with buyers and in our organizations.
I didn’t get far. Even though some folks were really interested, the majority of these folks rolled their eyes and some began to immediately shut me down. The comments ranged from, “You don’t really believe that malarky about our brains do you?” to “Anyone who thinks all that left brain/right brain crap is true is smoking something.”
Being the tenacious me, I kept on going, explaining more about the research and it’s impacts. I even shared some details about my own personal experiences with reprogramming – as well as those of my clients.
My experience and real world results didn’t matter to those who had already closed their minds. They knew what they knew and that was that. I was either interrupted or in one case there was an outright attack, “Are you going all woo-woo on us? Wow – how do you ever get a client with this BS?“
Sigh. Since when is scientific research in the same realm as woo-woo?
Yet again the proof of the power of our unconscious minds was right in my face. These experts were doing exactly what the research predicts – defending their status quo knowledge and approaches as they refused to listen to any additional ideas. I wasn’t sharing woo woo magic – I was sharing powerful behavioral and brain research straight from MIT, Harvard and more.
Isn’t it amazing how vehemently we’ll attack a new idea to protect our safe and known status quo?
Remember all the naysayers when the iPad was launched? All the “experts” pooh-poohed the concept, the name and anything else they could find to ridicule. Today, 28 million iPads live in the US. Hmmm.
We all do it. It’s part of the human condition. We gather knowledge and experience, we learn, we create our knowns and givens and then we hang on to them for dear life. Even if a better way or an easier approach is standing right in our path.
I catch myself stuck the status quo all the time. Some examples?
- I mindlessly reach for the same brand of whatever in the grocery. Even if I don’t really like it – my mom used it so I do too. Creating status quo behaviors starts when we’re young.
- I managed email and files in the same way with my local systems for decades – including backups. I continued to do it that way until a few weeks ago – even though I lost a lot of data due to crashes. It took a good friend and a big kick in the butt to get me to upload all my files to the cloud for easy access and protection. And I’m a technologist! Sigh, it really does take a while for old dogs to learn new tricks. Whoof!
- Last week I caught myself reaching for an old plan as a template for a new client. Then I remembered and laughed. Everything changed. That plan I built two years ago doesn’t apply to today’s world. Advancements in technology, social platforms, communities and more require an evolution in the way we all think and plan. Time for a blank whiteboard!
- I found myself arguing with a dear friend not so long ago. I was standing up for my way and my plan – even though there is always an opportunity to improve and evolve. I realize now I was arguing for my limitations – based on status quo beliefs created in less than six months, beliefs that were outdated less than three months later. That’s how fast our world is changing.
Yes, the pull of the status quo is strong. Especially in today’s stressed out, uncertain world when our unconscious survival instincts are on 24 x 7 alert. We’re literally driven to hold on more tightly than ever to what we know, what is safe and what feels comfortable.
As I write this I’m chuckling. We call this part of us the unconscious mind, the reptilian brain or perhaps the caveman brain.
I’m thinking it’s more like Donkey Brain.