“If it isn’t broke don’t fix it” is one of those “marmite’ phrases. We either love it or hate it.
Advocates somehow feel drawn to further convincing non-believers, (and themselves), with no end of similar, back up phrases, such as: “Don’t change horses in midstream”, “don’t change a winning Team”, “Leave well enough alone” “what we do works” “we’ve always done it this way”.
For some, it’s hard to see how a process can be changed for the better, especially if they believe that the current process is also the best process.
Often, this way of thinking prevents improvement from ever beginning, largely because its perceived as a waste of time.
For believers of this faith, how do you survive what the future holds, when you live forever in the present?
You can’t start the next chapter if you keep reading the last.
But What Does It Mean?
“Broke” implies that something is not working, that it does not fulfil its purpose, and that in its current state is utterly defunct and unusable.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out why anyone would subscribe to this way of thinking. It implies that you should always wait for something to completely fail before doing anything to improve or fix it.
I can understand that, if it was referring to a kitchen or household appliance, like a toaster or TV set, which was in good working order. There would be no need to meddle around with it.
If, however you apply it to running your business, it will eventually lead to your business downfall. It won’t happen immediately, but without improving your company processes and practices, it will start a slow decline and sink your business entirely.
In his last speech as CEO of Nokia, before it was acquired by Microsoft, Stephen Elop said “We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow we lost”
Unfortunately, you did do something wrong Stephen, and that is the very reason you lost. You failed to learn. You failed to innovate. You failed to change, and therefore you failed to survive.
But don’t feel too depressed, you are in good company. You have joined the likes of Blockbuster, Kodak, Polaroid, and Xerox, the list goes on, who attended the same business school as yourself, and now, like yourself, have plenty of time to relax!
The business advantage that you have today, your service/product, customers etc. will mean nothing tomorrow, when replaced with greater efficiency, better customer service, and enhanced product/service value.
Change is a curious phenomenon. It is a process which is present at the very core of our existence. Change is a constant, it does not stop, it only varies in pace.
This is particularly poignant in business. Digital technology is the impeller of change. It generates an ever-increasing pace, which is neither reversible nor preventable. We either move with it or get left behind. It is not a choice thing; it is a fact thing.
Human nature is to focus on only improving things that are broken or the squeaking wheel. But before the process is recognised as broken or an issue lingers long enough to start “squeaking,” it’s likely the business has already been negatively impacted and may have been suffering for quite a while.
In business terms, broken, means when what you do, no longer meets and exceeds the expectations of your customers. This is the “broken” that companies need to be aware of and take the time to review.
To stay competitive, you need to constantly monitor your Company’s processes and procedures, for ways to improve them.
Certain of your processes may be producing the correct answer, but these processes may be inefficient, and time consuming, while other processes might be producing the wrong answer, albeit efficiently, but you are unaware of their problem.
Disruptive technology/innovation, has been the key determinant of changes in business practices in the last 25 yrs. It was first defined by American scholar, Clayton M Christensen in 1995, and has been described as the most influential idea of the early 21st century.
In business theory, a disruptive innovation, is an innovation that creates a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts and replaces existing market and networks, along with market-leading firms and products.
In the corridors of business, it is now common to hear that in every five years, an Industry Leader is replaced by someone new. But why are these Companies disrupted in the first place? The answer lies in the mindset of “If it isn’t broke don’t t fix it “
Just in case you’re not sold on the vital importance of what the future means for your business, be assured that you may choose to ignore change, but you will not be able to ignore the effects of change, as you find yourself swept to the sidelines.
Connecting with the Future
Having state of the art digital technology alone will not do it for you. It was never intended to. In order to bring it to life, you have to have a rich source of talent to tap into, with the necessary knowledge skills and expertise. Your staff are the future stars of your business. They are the difference between success and failure.
Two Companies can have identical technology, equipment, and building infrastructure, but what separates them in terms of performance and achievement?
The quality of the staff they employ.
Technology and human interaction are symbiotic. It is a totally interdependent relationship. One cannot function without the other.
Hiring the best and maintaining the knowledge & skill levels of existing staff, is the only way to grow a sustainable business.
The new disruptive innovation in Human Resources is the Graduate Apprentice.
Previously, the biggest mistake Businesses made was not recognising the power and influence of emerging technology. By the time reality set in, the bus had left. They had missed it. There was no other bus.
Graduate Apprentices are rapidly displacing traditional recruitment practices, and making a solid impact in levering Organisations forward, with their academic digital prowess and applied digital skills. The impact on bottom line results clear and measurable.
Employers from across the whole spectrum of Industry, have been central figures in developing the new Apprenticeship Standards and curricula. These qualifications are now widely acknowledged as being THE flagship of bespoke Industry courses, ie developed by industry for Industry. There are no other creditable alternatives.
Previous perceptions of Apprenticeships have now become Jurassic. The time to act is now. The bus is here. Get on it. Break out of the past. Don’t become a casualty of you own complacency.
Tapping into Renewable Energy
Staff are the heartbeat of every Organisation and need to be cared for and continually nurtured and developed. For the Company to grow…. they need to grow. Your staff are your most important investment.
Knowledge and skill levels need to be maintained on a continual basis as part of planned personal and professional development.
Continuous Improvement is not meant as something to point fingers or say that something is being done the “wrong” way. It is meant to allow you to maximise effectiveness and efficiency, to complete your goals and to fulfil a purpose in the best way possible. Improvement should always be looked at in the most positive of light, as it is about evolution and growth, allowing for the best to come out of everything.
Apart from the indispensable benefits of maintaining Company market position, a continuous improvement culture has been shown to boost employee engagement and reduce turnover rates. Employees who actively participate in the betterment of the company gain a sense of pride and accomplishment. This leads to a greater sense of belonging and fewer reasons to leave the Organisation.
Building a strong sustainable workforce is the cornerstone on which future success is built. If you are persistent in the practice of staff development, you will get it. If you are consistent you will keep it.
Stay on the front foot, stay alert and ready for action. Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.