I was recently reading a theory about how our military leaders are not properly
addressing today’s military and strategic threats because they continue to use
outdated and antiquated models of assessing what is actually a threat and what is
the best course of action. The author attributed this to what he deemed as “strategic
atrophy.” Our current practices are based on outcomes from the last major and
decisive military victory for the United States, namely the Second World War.
As unique challenges arise in our workplaces we need to avoid this problem of
strategic atrophy. Leaders are confronting some very unique challenges. In the same
way that our military is deciding how to train and develop our national defense
based on a conflicts outcome 76 years ago, imagine if your organization was
planning for today’s challenges based on the effectiveness on what we did ten
maybe even twenty years ago? If wouldn’t be very effective would it?
New challenges require you as leaders to first, recognize that the status quo isn’t
going to help you succeed in this new environment. If we think how we once
responded, or planned are going to work, your competition isn’t going to compete
with you; they are going to lap you. Second, we need to evaluate if our current
strategy is based on an outdated premise or model. What worked ten or twenty
years ago may not work today. We need to be committed to the reality of continuous
performance improvement in action not just in words. Third, and most importantly
now is the time to get creative. Necessity is the mother of all invention. We
certainly are living in a time where we have compelling reasons to get inventive.
Instead of clinging to past success as a model by which we should base performance,
now is the time to harness disruption to invent and improve.