Wednesday, April 8, 2015

An Anti-Digital Mind: A Complacency Mind

Complacency almost always stems from a sense of success or living in a comfort zone.

The world is constantly changing, and digital is all about flow. But complacency is at the heart of resistance to change. Where does complacency come from, and how to fix such an anti-digital mindset?

Complacency almost always stems from a sense of success or living in a comfort zone: More often, a complacency mindset lives long after the success that created has disappeared. Organizations and individuals that are complacent do not look for new opportunities or hazards. Some say, it is not complacency that is at the heart of the resistance. It is the unknown and being afraid of new things and it will be the same for the word "complacency," because people are used to living in their own comfort zone. Others say the problem with age is that one can become complacent. However, complacency in young people - results in a life of wasted opportunities. The point is when complacency sprouts up, people with such mindset stop flowing their energy up towards the positive directions (learning new things, building new capabilities), then, their energy more often flows down to the negative or unprofessional direction. And it also becomes the root cause of culture of mediocrity. 

Complacency always has many excuses: Complacency goes hand in glove with the phrases "If only" and " this is how we've always done it." “That’s not the way we do things around here,” “We are different” etc. So don't wait for your "if only we'd known" moment. Watch out for “We have always done it that way.” These phrases and others like it typically refers to the complex, subtle practices that become ingrained in an organization’s culture -the collective mindset, to the point where they become part of its identity. Don’t underestimate how powerful these sentences are, they are the reflection of what you think. Complacency is probably the biggest challenge either individuals or organizations have to overcome. Once that barrier is broken, a positive change process can commence.

Failure to understand the need for change is in a way or another complacency: Why do people resist and what is the key to sustainable change? One could challenge the need for change to maintain a status quo or even to benefit from disruption, the reasons vary, but it will always drill down to self criticism (the heart of successful change). In essence, criticizing performance and moving forward is critical to the process and if change does not come from within, it will never happen. So in general terms, it is the the positive mind with continuous improvement thinking towards changes and associated benefits, which can be created using innovative practices. From business perspective, continual improvement differentiates between one hit wonders and the companies who really get it. Numerous "Big" projects run, complete, then slowly crumble away as people slowly revert to old ways, while few creative teams build phenomenal long lived transformations and make the difference.

A complacency mind gets use to reacting, not being proactive: If you stick to the comfort zone too long, you might lose the “mojo” to move forward. And if you always wait to react, ultimately there will come a time when you will not be able to do so in time. As such, you must always recognize that you can do better. Be proactive to look forward and move on. You can always expand the horizon, and use energy in more meaningful way; not just for beating down the competitors, but for living with purpose. In addition, never think you know it all, even humans as a “superior” species only know the tip of iceberg of our surroundings. Anyone who does will fall to the complacency trap. From business perspective, complacency from success is not necessarily a fatal affliction as some notable turnarounds are cited, but the recovery never seems to return a reformed company to its former glory. Avoiding complacency is essential to any business's long-term longevity.

The challenges for both individuals and organizations are to pay attention to CRIC-cycle (Crisis, Response, Improvement, Complacency), and how to try to break the cycle, or transform the last stage (complacency) into a "vigilance" status aimed at anticipating and preventing morphing into the next crisis. Only paranoid survive, and always avoid complacency.


A simple and effective solution to that is that:
1. We must stop feeding people who are not hungry
2. Instead help them understand change and be hungry for it
3. Feed them and continue to support them as they engage and contribute to the change

See my webinar on that for PMI:

And my "Transformational Leaders In Action" solution that help with that:

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