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Success Compounds Ignorance

By Brad Barker

In my career, I have worked with both successful companies and unsuccessful companies. Whenever I have worked with them, traditionally I have been brought in to work with a troubled business unit, or a challenged business. The one thing that has consistently come across when I start unpacking their business approach, is the term:

“We have always done it this way”.

When I asked them why they practice the way they do; their response was:

“Somewhere along the line it worked.”

They had success. So, when I start to focus in on that particular practice that they use –e.g. sales technique, a marketing event, or a way they engage with a client – they tend to get very defensive.

They have an emotional attachment to that practice, and it becomes a sacred cow.

I had a meeting with a client recently that wanted more employees, but they would not engage in adjusting their marketing, nor would they entertain adopting a new client engaging way to connect with their potential and current customers.

It’s not like they could not afford to do this, however they didn’t want to change the “winning formula” that they currently had.

Most of their work comes through word of mouth, which is the best type of potential client you want. Makes sense right? If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it? 

Of course, it makes sense. However, if you want a different result, then you must do something different in order to achieve this.

The challenge I often face is reframing their view of the practice that they had.

Yes, it helped them become successful. However, how much more successful could they be if they enhanced, or adjusted what they were currently doing?

Clients like this get so fixated on the success they had in the past, that they become ignorant to what could be now. The world has moved on from the practices they used to do, and it has become more competitive.

Whilst they are still holding on to the success of the past, their competitors have found a new way to overcome your unique offering, approach, and practice.

Your approach may still be working for you at times, but it is not necessarily getting you to where you want to go. At times like these, it is sometimes appropriate to point out that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Has your past success compounded your ignorance towards new practices, and new ways that can help you get to where you want to go?

Come talk to me, and let’s assess the sacred cows you have put up on a pedestal.