Challenging the Status Quo

Progress is always preceded by change, and change is always preceded by challenge.  Therefore, it is any leader's obligation and mandate to continually challenge the status quo, while pointing towards a picture of a better future. Here are a few thoughts on the importance of this mandate:

1) Our mission and vision are permanent, but our approach is temporary.  This means we don't mess our mission but we continually challenge our approach. 

As Andy Stanley says, "Marry the mission, date the model."

2) Success breeds complacency and complacency breeds failure. 

3) Leaders must challenge the process because any system will unconsciously conspire to maintain the status quo and prevent change.  If we aren't careful, our organization by nature will conspire against us. 

4) We must create a culture where challenging ideas can easily bubble up. We must create a listening culture, because the next generation innovation will not come from the current generation.  If we aren't listening then we will miss it.  One generations status quo is another generations obligation to challenge it. 

When it was announced that Apple had the most profitable quarter in the history of business, CEO Tim Cook did not react by telling everyone how great they were.  He instead issued a challenge to the team that they better stay nimble and innovative or else they were subject to being replaced by something better.  He challenged the status quo, to make sure that their success does not lead to complacency. 

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