A wanderer would take a different path in the forest, he will not be worried about risks on the new terrain he has never been to before; status quo will be the last thing on his mind. But is that how our workday looks like, when all that we aim for is organisational transformation? How many new things do we fill it up with?
Spending time on new projects, new products, new processes, new customers or new suppliers is the equivalent of a wanderer’s workday.
Much of our routine is steeped in doing the same things in our workday; looking at existing customer or supplier report cards, making a to do list on what to review, planning the important calls with existing customers or suppliers, participating in meetings, initiating a conversation or replying to an important mail, planning the next meetings or visits to the market or the gemba. Almost all of this acts like a disciplined routine with some minor variations.
You cannot take a wanderer’s path to your workday, as you have teams reporting to you and teams to which you are part of or reporting to. The whole piece of the organisational gearbox with all its moving parts must synchronise otherwise there would be chaos.
But that is how you are geared to think. No body actually would stop you from treading on a different path, which may be based on a slightly unplanned and unregulated routine. Most innovations happen from such an uncharted approach, where you are hardwired to take a different step from the usual and the ordinary.
Think of the best creators of ideas to the most talented among the artists or the best creations in music. All of this needed a lot of individual effort for sure, but the work needed collaboration of all kinds. The nature of this individual work and the collaborative included could never be crafted as a piece of arithmetical progression of well planned events; same is the case for scientific discoveries, which must go through a series of experiments and testing of hypothesis of all kind.
Creation of the best kinds have come from completely chaotic array of events, not the kind we see in our work life, not from disciplined following of a well charted routine.
Change your routine like an artist starting on his canvas, the day could start without a plan, it could just be that you have completely ignored the most obvious event you should have spent time on; talking to the people you have not talked to in the last several weeks could just be your starting point and that could lead you new customers or partners or a completely new process.
Releasing control is at the center of all organizational dilemma, how much must we control so that we make allowance for independent inquiry into this uncertain world? But that in the worst of circumstances would lead to reducing everything into status quo and in the best would create organizations where the next step in the product making is to be decided by the majority of people with absolutely nothing coming in the way of controlling what they do and how they do.
Questioning a status quo is something we always want to avoid. Reviewing existing work that had been planned earlier fills up most of our day, we are left with very little for the things we aught to work on.
New customers and new partners are where our non-routine will have to be diverted to. New projects must fill up our time not reviewing existing ones. Transformation must start with your workday.