Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fit For Nothing

It’s not a lack of something that is our problem...
It’s our lack of nothing.

We continually complain about the need for more resources however it is the very lack of something that is our wealth. The very nature of having nothing can provide us with the best opportunity to move ahead or expand our thinking into spaces we would be too lazy to enter.

In the same way we have developed a reliance on technology we have also developed an insatiable desire for money, time, people and all sorts of things to expand or develop ourselves and our organisations. It comes to a point where confronted with something like a power outage many people become disabled, not knowing how to cope, almost as if they themselves were plugged into the power socket.

I see this every day in such examples as the EFTPOS machine going offline with a queue of patrons waiting. People paralysed and stressed when right in front of their faces there are many alternatives. Whilst a 'continuity' plan may go some way to resolving this, it’s the complete numbness in our human processing that pervades when confronted with nothing. Working on the premise of 'continuity' also emphasizes the fact that we don't want to change what we are doing we just want to ‘continue’ and not be interrupted, choking the greatest opportunity for development in us and our people to show initiative, agility and resilience in all environments.

We have been deceived into a place where we are translating doing more with less, into 'less effort', rather than just less, or even nothing.

When was the last time you used a pencil? Do you even have one? If you had no white board what would you do? Could you or your staff give a presentation that did not involve PowerPoint slides? What if the power went out just before that meeting? Could you or your people deliver the message or hold the conversation with nothing?

If we want ourselves, our organisations and our people to really develop flexibility, initiative, innovation and confidence maybe it’s time to put ourselves on a diet. Look around and ask, is my organisation fat? Are my people obese? Are we agile and fit? If I pulled the power switch now would their lights go out or would they transition readily. How would they behave? Would they readily embrace disruption as if it’s a normal day?

In trying to focus on gaining a competitive advantage and maintain our place we may be overlooking the best advantage we could have. Is it time to change from a continuity plan to an adaptive one and throw away the reliance?

The generation that invented and developed what we rely on today, were able to do it with nothing. If we were placed in the same space today could we? Could our people? Have we lost all those skills that made what we have?

Your competitive advantage may be your organisations fitness for nothing. Is it time to cause a famine? It will mean going back to basics and relearning skills that we have forgotten or thrown away. It will invoke new and exciting conversations. It will result in doing more with nothing, and it will allow your people to embrace the future and not be paralysed by nothing.

Can you 'do this without this'?

When you are fit for nothing you may actually have something.

Are you ready?