We have always done in this way
Grace Murray Hopper famously stated that the sentence "We have always done it this way" is the most dangerous of all. Another equally perilous phrase is "but they all do it this way." These two statements are frequently encountered in meetings with Box Owners, and we have also heard coaches in the world of sports repeat them countless times, even while still relying on techniques from the 1940s.
The statement was likely made with good intentions, as it's often associated with the phrase 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.' It's natural for people to stick with a proven approach, as it can be a harmless and effective strategy. After all, why complicate things further if the current tactic is already successful?
It's important to question the effectiveness of a strategy and ask "how well is it working?" and more importantly, "why are there others who can do it better even though it's working for us?" Simply relying on a method because it has worked in the past or because others are doing it is not a conducive approach to innovation and growth. When Box owners embrace a culture of change, they can fully tap into their potential.
Companies that remain static are at risk of failure.
A prime example of this can be found in the history of television. For several decades, beginning in 1932, the BBC monopolized the airwaves. It wasn't until 1955, when several competitors emerged, that the stagnant state broadcaster was forced to adapt.
Since then, we have witnessed the emergence of satellite programming, pay-per-view options, and the growing popularity of digital streaming. This progression has been marked by growth, with new technology leading to the creation of new products, fresh ideas disrupting tradition, and cultural trends shaping viewer preferences. At the core of this advancement is innovation, and companies that have the foresight to adapt to these changes are best positioned to thrive.
A meme that has recently circulated on LinkedIn and Facebook suggests that Blockbuster's demise was caused by their late fees rather than by Netflix. The meme draws a series of similar comparisons, ultimately concluding that technology alone is not responsible for disruption and that a lack of customer centricity is the greatest threat to any business.
While it's true that late fees contributed to Blockbuster's decline, it's an exaggeration to solely attribute the company's downfall to a lack of customer focus. In reality, Blockbuster failed to adapt to changing consumer preferences and the rise of digital streaming, ultimately sealing their own fate through resistance to change.
Back in 2000, when Netflix was still in its early stages, its CEO and co-founder, Reed Hastings, proposed a partnership with Blockbuster's CEO, John Antioco. Hastings suggested that Netflix would manage Blockbuster's online services while Blockbuster would manage Netflix's physical DVD rentals. At that time, Netflix had just started its subscription services, and Hastings saw a promising future in this model. However, his proposal was met with laughter.
Blockbuster continued to focus on its physical rental shops and even rejected an offer to buy Netflix for $50 million that same year. It wasn't until 2007 that Blockbuster changed its business strategy to emphasize online streaming. But by then, it was too late. In 2010, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy protection due to losses, debts, and competition from Netflix and other on-demand services.
Blockbuster's downfall serves as a cautionary tale for future enterprises. It highlights the dangers of extreme arrogance and resistance to change. When Netflix began its rapid ascent, Blockbuster was already stagnating. This illustrates that if you don't evolve, your competitors will likely do so without you even noticing. By the time you do, you'll already be one step behind.
Encouraging a culture of change
Many challenges faced by businesses arise from fear - fear of the new, unfamiliar, or failure. What's worse, this fear can be subtle and take on many forms. While some companies may adhere to their traditions, those that are simply afraid of change are more likely to fail. This is also true for Boxes that cling to outdated or ineffective management models. Fear is one of the most destructive hindrances to business growth and development.
Fear can hinder an organization's ability to act. Overcoming fear requires knowing how and when to inspire change. It's not about change for the sake of change. Identifying opportunities for organizational transformation requires a certain level of insight and intuition that cannot be directly taught. Instead, it must be cultivated and developed within the organization.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to foster a culture of adaptability among your employees and collaborators. You need to ask yourself, "How can I encourage my employees to embrace change?" This requires sharing values and goals with your team, and also creating an environment in which they feel comfortable questioning the current state of your Box and your industry.
Above all, creating a culture of change involves continuous communication with your employees to build trust and allow them to question the status quo. Instead of sticking to the mantra of "We've always done it this way," you need to adopt the mindset of "What can we do better?"