You or your organization may be plateaued if…
- If you are hoping for new results to appear while simply doing what you’ve always done.
Most of us are familiar with the definition of insanity—doing what you’ve always done and expecting different results. In the plateaued organization, this mindset has become a subtle mantra. Things will be different next Sunday or next month, next season, next semester, or next fiscal year. The plateaued organization often falls victim to the belief that current methods will finally pay off in whatever “next” moment is relevant to the organization’s business.
And sometimes it does…but rarely.
Sure, some efforts take time to take root. New initiatives don’t always explode into new opportunities overnight. Conditions must ripen before they produce the desired harvest. But in the plateaued organization, it’s usually not our waiting on new ideas that is unreasonable. Instead, it’s waiting for old ideas to produce the way they once did.
Ideas run their course. They rise in effectiveness and melt into obsolescence. In the rapidly changing environment our world has presented to us, “same-old, same-old” gets stale in a hurry. What brought you to the top of the mountain often can’t take you higher, especially if there are now changes in the terrain. A single idea may prove productive for a time, but often that time has the endurance of a fad and can’t sustain momentum for the weight of the organization.
If doing what you’ve always done isn’t producing anymore, an honest look is now critical. Unfortunately, current leaders have mastered their current ideas, and their leadership is so entangled in them that admitting what’s not working anymore can feel threatening. Past success almost always has us holding onto past methods longer than is effective. And the loss of momentum such clinging generates becomes very difficult to conquer—thus the plateau.
What does a plateaued organization need? New vision, new energy, new methods, new thinking—something NEW! But, as we’ve discussed in previous blogs, plateaued organizations treat what is new with great suspicion and often have a culture that makes it tough sledding for new ideas. Things will be different soon…or so we tell ourselves. But somehow, in spite of the public face we put on, we have little logical reason to believe they will.