Thursday, 8 December 2011

Nothing Fails like Success

I’ve just been searching through my old notebooks to find a list of addresses of family and friends to whom I want to send festive greetings. It’s in one of them. Somewhere! Predictably I go through this exercise every year.  When eventually the list is retrieved I make a solemn vow to either create a spreadsheet or at least to put it somewhere where I will find it next year.  As yet the addresses remain stubbornly elusive.
On the positive side, I’ve become reacquainted with pages of thoughts collected from conferences I’ve attended.  Ideas worthy of note but forgotten in this jumbled archive of assorted notebooks.  One set of pages was my record of a presentation by Stephen Covey.  The first line, and title for this blog, caught my eye.  Even though it was delivered before the Lehman crash 2008, in a time of plenty, the concept has resonance and is very much the subject of this site.
Covey’s primary message was that ‘successful practices no longer work today’. He used a wonderful metaphor to illustrate the point. 
If you are in London trying to navigate your way around the city with a map of Amsterdam to find your destination, it won’t be too surprising if you can’t find the place.  Your first inclination is to try harder.  After all, if we work harder success eventually arrives.  But you don’t arrive! The only thing that arrives is a sense of frustration.  Maybe you have an attitude problem.  Get this sorted, you need a PMA (positive mental attitude).  Get psyched up, come on you can do it!  Unfortunately, however positive you become, you will remain lost.
This has nothing to do with your behaviour or attitude, just a bad map. You have a map problem. 
Breakthroughs come from ‘breaking with’.  Changing what you are doing, finding a new accurate map is the key to making a difference. The map is the paradigm; the way we do things around here.  At one time the accepted paradigm was that the earth was at the centre of the Universe.  When a more accurate map showed this was not the case, unsurprisingly people wouldn’t accept it.  Changing a paradigm is really hard for people to even contemplate, let alone adopt. Maybe, the way we do business, the way we deal with our customers, how we work and the like might benefit from a new map.
Since I’ve already redoubled my effort, adopted a PMA and achieved frustration, maybe it’s the time to adopt a different approach towards finding this damned Christmas card list!

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