Why do we settle for the status quo? Why don’t we aim for something better? Instead, let’s aim for the very best.
Back when I was selling computers, software, and services, at IBM they used to tell a story about Ross Perot’s botched EDI Implementation at GM. EDS had automated existing processes, and by doing so, they locked in the status quo–making it impossible to improve anything. This was a case study on how not to run a systems implementation.
GM spent millions and millions of dollars for things to stay exactly the same. The whole idea, the intention of a consulting engagement of any kind, should be to improve the status quo. If you’re going to bother with any kind of consulting engagement, one of the top priorities should be to make an improvement.
How you do anything is how you do everything
If you’re going to go to the bother of creating a new consulting firm, or building a new website, or improving an old one… you should put some put some “OOMPH” into its conception and framework. Your intention should be to find a higher purpose that you’re passionate about, an angle that emphasizes your unique strengths, or a unique outlook on the world–and bake that into the equation. So you turn the ORDINARY into something EXTRAORDINARY.
If you’ve never seen the Apple’s “Think Different” Ad created by Chiat/Day & Steve Jobs, look at it again… it shows In order of appearance they were: Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Branson, John Lennon (with Yoko Ono), Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Ted Turner, Maria Callas, Mahatma Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Martha Graham, Jim Henson (with Kermit the Frog),Frank Lloyd Wright, and Pablo Picasso. The commercial ends with an image of a young girl opening her closed eyes, as if making a wish: “Think Different”.
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Individuals can and do make a difference
My modern-day heroes in the Medical Industry are rebels against the status quo: Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Terri Wahls… they practice what is known as “Functional Medicine”, medicine that gets to the root of disease, and provides real cures — not treatments for symptoms. Dr. Terry Wahls had 2nd degree progressive multiple sclerosis and was confined to a wheelchair, discovered that modern food was making her sick, changed her diet, and was back up riding a bike in a year!
Leaders we should all look up to today are Integrative Medical Practitioners like Dr. Michael Roizen, Chairman of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, who is leading a Revolution in Wellness– or William McDonough at McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, the author of Cradle to Cradle and The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability. They are…, and we along with them…, are standing on the shoulders of giants. Like the giants we saw in Apple’s “Think Different” commercial.
We’re standing on the shoulders of giants
Without Watson & Crick discovering DNA, there’d be no genome mapping, no knowledge that a short 6 months ago what we were calling Junk DNA is actually something that you can control and reprogram through healthy diet and exercise. Now we know you can can actually reprogram your health!
Without The Earth Summit in 1992, no McDonough Braungart; two absolute geniuses who’ve asserted that most, if not all of the problems facing mankind today are inherently “design flaws”. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. If you don’t design products or systems with sustainability in mind, then you run the risk of creating products with carcinogens and mutagens that kill and maim people and create long term damage to the environment.
The long distance tyranny of George III which led to the American Revolution has been replaced by an inter-generational tyranny where we borrow resources from future generations to pay for our lifestyle today.
We’ve got big problems. Let’s fix them.
How are we going to tackle some of our really big problems if we don’t start ? Climate change, The High Cost of Healthcare, The National Debt, GMOs in our Food, Energy Shortages, Population Growth, The Growth of Corporatism and the Loss of Individual Freedoms… the writing of Regulations that tilt the playing field towards corporations and the mega-wealthy, the Gridlock Lobbyists enjoy in Washington. William McDonough has said: “Any problem is essentially a design problem.” Let’s use our creative problem solving skills and fix them.
I had a Professor in Finance when I was at Thunderbird, a top-ranked business school in Arizona, his name was Dr. Brian Neuberger, a true servant if there ever was one. In the late eighties, he was appointed by President Reagan to be Deputy Director of the FSLIC so he got a bird’s eye view of the Savings & Loan crisis. What did he attribute the Savings & Loan crisis to? A failure to take responsibility. He called FIRREA, the legislation that led to the meltdown a “Congressional Temper Tantrum”. He was an expert witness and testified on the people’s behalf for Western Savings, and an advocate for protecting minority shareholder interests. Because he knew, as many know, that WE ARE ALL ONE. “When you do something to benefit the least of these, you do it for me.” We are all stakeholders, S.T.A.K.E.-holders in the world. If we don’t work together to leave the world in a better situation than we found it, we won’t.
Why can’t we create Centers of Excellence to tackle these seemingly intractable problems? The way we sent a Man the Moon? Let’s do it.
Oftentimes it’s fear that’s holding us back. Many of our biggest obstacles are illusory. “I can’t do that.” “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not qualified”. “I wouldn’t be able to handle the risk.” “It’s outside my comfort zone.”
I’ll counter this negative thinking with a quote from Robert Browning:
“Ah but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a Heaven for?”
What does this mean exactly? It’s call to attempt the [seemingly] impossible, the unlikely, “the more than you’re comfortable with”. This attempt, this “higher calling” will it in itself help you to stretch yourself beyond your current limits. Don’t settle for what’s easily attainable. Let’s go for the proverbial gold.
Let’s resolve to do a better job encouraging one another
We all need to do a better job encouraging one another. In today’s world it’s easy to get discouraged. Let’s resolve to stop belittling one another, and start building one another up. Let’s work to find a common purpose, and work together to improve our situation. Let’s consult with one another, and improve the status quo!
Some of you watching this video may have the answer to the world’s big problems. Are you really going to sit by and watch while we completely screw up our world? Or are you going to use your influence to help intentionally manage positive change?