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Understanding Stuck

by on June 2, 2012

by Seth Godin

Is there a human being alive who is capable of getting to an airplane who doesn’t know how to buckle his seatbelt?

Given that we have 100% seatbelt understanding among the flying population, why do flight attendants repeat the instructions literally millions of times a year? (Low and flat across the waist…)

 

It’s stuck.

Like so many policies, beliefs and procedures in our organizations, this is a ritual that’s stuck. To get unstuck, organizations need two things:

a. a vacuum and,

b. a willingness to ignore dissent

Change gets made by people who care, who have some sort of authority and are willing to take responsibility. Often, though, finding all three is tough, particularly when faced with the immovable object of the stuck organization.

One approach to getting unstuck is the clean sheet of paper. Dictate that the speech before flight is going to change, that the menu will be redone, that the qualifications are going to start over, from zero.

Now, instead of needing an unanimous vote to remove something, merely demand that you need a passionate voice to add something.

For years, the Yahoo home page was stuck, with literally hundreds of links on it. No one could take a link off the page, because unanimous consent was impossible. Once Google decided to start with a completely blank page, a different approach was possible.

Move your team across the street, open a new location, completely rewrite the employee handbook, throw out the standard sales script–by creating a vacuum, you give your team permission to invent.

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