DON’T GET PARALYZED BY SEXY MODELS
I’m not a big “model” guy when it comes to organizational strategy. While I definitely recognize and admire fresh, innovative ideas that other people are accomplishing, it’s very seldom that I find myself jumping to adapt someone else’s idea or approach in the contexts where I’m leading or creating. Don’t get me wrong, models certainly can be helpful, but if we’re not careful, they can also paralyze us.
Case in point… A couple years ago I learned of a particular structure/model that was working very effectively for another organization that I really admire. And it just so happened that it was proving very successful in an area that we were really struggling to make progress in. So, I decided that we were going to adapt that approach and make it work for us. The only problem was that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get it to work in our context. In fact, the more I tried to make it work, the more frustrated and stuck we became!
Eventually, what I realized was that I was trying to force ourselves into a model that was birthed out of an entirely different story, culture, and DNA than ours. Their approach was grown organically out of who they were, what they valued, and where they came from. The most freeing moment came for me when I gave myself permission to walk away from the model and instead shifted my focus on our own context – who we have and where we’re realistically and currently at organizationally.
And guess what? We saw almost instant progress!
I think often times, models carry an assumption with them that says: “You have what it takes to make it work!” But the fact is, you may not. And that’s ok! Chances are, it took some time for the other guys to evolve, morph, and grow into whatever “model” is currently effective for them.
Allow successful models to inspire, provoke, and start conversations. But don’t allow them to dictate or lock you in to a certain strategy or plan that you may not be ready for….or that may not even be right for you at all!
And if you are going to use someone else’s model….. ADAPT, ADAPT, ADAPT to your own unique context and DNA.
What would you add to this conversation?