Most people and most organisations operate in a comfortable rut that limits their possibilities, their thinking and their achievements. If you want a more interesting life then you have to take some risks. If you want to be more adventurous in your thinking then you should be more adventurous in your activities. Deliberately push yourself out of your routine. Try things that you do not normally try. Do things that you have never done before. Do things that scare you.
Here are some ideas for pushing yourself out of your personal rut.
- Take salsa dancing lessons
- Try a new sport.
- Drive a different route to work every day for a month.
- Learn to knit.
- Read some special interest magazines that you have never read before.
- Perform in a karaoke bar.
- Go to an art gallery.
- Go on a flower arranging course.
- Learn a foreign language.
- Join an amateur dramatic society and act a minor part in a play.
- Help in a charity shop.
- Become a prison visitor.
- Talk to somebody new every day. Listen to them carefully.
The same philosophy applies to your business. We tend to hide behind old mottos like:
- Stick to the knitting.
- Focus on your strengths.
- Don’t try to be all things to all men.
These can be excuses for staying within our corporate comfort zone. It is by trying new activities that we gain new experiences and skills. If we keep doing the same things we learn very little.
Nokia was originally a small Finnish wood pulp company; it has diversified many times. It has tried all sorts of different things. At one time Nokia made rubber boots. Now it is are one of the world’s leading providers of mobile phones and is admired as a leader in innovation.
Virgin group started as a record label. Richard Branson has led countless diversifications. Many experiments have failed but they have established businesses in areas such as trains, airlines, books, cola, etc.
If we as individuals need a good push to get us out of our comfort zones then unwieldy organisations need a mighty shove. It takes guts and determination to try new business initiatives in areas outside our core competence. This is what Lou Gerstner did when he turned around IBM. Gerstner was brought in as CEO to halt the slide as the giant corporation lumbered towards irrelevance and oblivion. He took many deliberate and highly symbolic steps to change the company’s culture and to turn it away from a dependence on products to become a leader in computer services.
If you want to succeed at a personal or organisational level then you need to continually challenge yourself. Keep trying something new.