“The dinosaur’s eloquent lesson is that if some bigness is good, an overabundance of bigness is not necessarily better.” – Eric Johnson
Who’s In Your Room?
Have you ever heard the expression: “the elephant in the room”? It can refer to an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. It also applies to an obvious problem no one wants to discuss. Because an elephant in the room with us would be impossible to overlook, those in the room who pretend the elephant is not there are more likely to be focused on small and irrelevant matters, never coming to terms with the looming big one. Think what’s going to happen when that elephant moves!
Archaeologists tell us that the dinosaurs probably died out and became extinct because they weren’t equipped to adapt to a changed environment. As the environment became different, they couldn’t, or wouldn’t become different. But other species on this planet survived because they were able to adapt and they became different with the different environment. It is called survival of the fittest.
Your environment has definitely changed. But there are obvious practices, problems, attitudes, beliefs, employees, inventory, customers and items that you believe are holding you back from changing. They don’t allow you to become what you can be. When you resist changing them by refusing to adapt to a changed business environment, global marketplace or economy, they hold you back from making the decision required to move forward. Whatever excuse you choose for avoiding change, it will lead to your extinction.
Sadly, everyone can see it but you. It might be a fashion style you think makes you stand out, but instead is being ridiculed by onlookers. It might be your stubborn belief in a product or item in your inventory that you just know someone will want to buy if you push it hard and long enough. It might be meetings with your employees that are useless, time-wasting, or simply self-aggrandizing. Whatever name it goes by, it is costing you more money to hold on to it than to just get over it and move on.
Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple said, “Get rid of all the crappy stuff, and focus on the good stuff.” He was advising Nike president and CEO Mark Parker, but it spoke to items unwanted by the marketplace that Apple tried unsuccessfully to sell. Remember the Newton? Like Steve Jobs and Apple, you have “crappy stuff” too. That stuff has dwindled in importance or function and is no longer profitable for you. Instead of being the elephant in the room, it is really the dinosaur in the room. You need to purge it, release it, free it, let it die and get over it.
Your employees are in the room. Most of them contribute to your profit line. Some make more than others. Some cost you more to retain than if you set them free (including the lawsuit when you do). The few are draining your organisation of money, time and energy. They have no intention of making a profit for you. Your ability to work them into your “team concept” hasn’t gone as well as you planned. Your team concept and the useless people on your staff are the dinosaur(s) in your room. They have become extinct. You need to get over it and let the concept die.
Your ego is in the room. You are convinced that your methods are tried and true in business, but your bottom line indicates otherwise.
I saw an ad for a car dealer on television. All he talked about was how he had more inventory than anyone else in the state. People should buy from him because he had more than all of his competitors. He must have bragged about the inventory surplus for 50 seconds of the 60 second commercial. Then the dealership information followed. The brand on his lot was under investigation for serious safety defects, and instead of confronting his elephant, he cried louder his perceived positive of “Inventory! Inventory! Inventory!” He could not admit that his inventory could not offset his customers’ fears. He missed his opportunity to step into their comfort zone. Guess who still has his enormous inventory?
You insist that everyone follow your leadership regardless of your wisdom. You feel your eccentricities are
unique and that everyone appreciates your uniqueness, even while your employees think otherwise. Your ego is in the room. It is becoming extinct. You need to get over it and let it die.
Your Real Job
I realised the same thing a year ago and it became the impetus to reinvent my business. The Old World of Work wasn’t working for me. I needed to get Old World Of Work out of the room and let it become extinct and die.
The Old World of Work is in the room. It says that if you feed it by doing the same things you used to do, it
will reward you with success like you used to have. It promises that the old ways are tried and true. It says that if you push a product or service hard enough, no matter what it is, you will sell it to almost anyone. It affirms that you need to keep the customer at bay, your employees in the dark and everyone else guessing about your next move. It pooh-poohs the internet as a passing fad where no real business takes place. It charms you with leftover inventory, then woos you with the temptation “One day, someone will buy all of this and you will recoup the loss to make a fortune.” It says that although Fred doesn’t do much work, getting rid of him would cost more in expense and trouble.
This Old World of Work is a dying beast. In the most successful and competitive businesses it has already
died, been buried and the funeral held. In your business, you need to do more than let it die of natural causes. You need to proactively exorcise it from your inventory, staff, schedule, to-do list, practices, attitudes, beliefs and expectations. The Old World of Work is the dinosaur in your room. Banish it to extinction.
OK, so you get this. You’re saying, “Great points, Jim. You made me think about some things in my business.” You’re still headed for extinction. You read this and say, “OK, I get it. But my boss and customers don’t. So what can I do?” You too are still headed for extinction. If you say, “I get it, but I don’t have the authority to do anything about all of this,” you are headed for extinction. Reinventing yourself begins with your attitude. It isn’t part of your job; it IS your job.
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