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Status Quo 

Status quo, you know, is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in.’

Ronald Reagan

Status Quo

Actually, “status quo” is a Latin phrase that means “the existing condition,” or “the existing state of affairs,” or “the way things are right now.”

In short, it is a person’s innate preference for not doing something different from what they’re doing today.

Problem with Status Quo

Business leaders and entrepreneurs need to be familiar with the allure of the status quo in that working from a place of comfort will always inhibit growth and cost them customers

The history of business is lined with the gravestones of companies that failed to understand the insidious force of the status quo.  Rock-solid companies of the past succumbed to this dangerous dynamic.  Companies such as Digital Equipment, Compaq, Tandem, and Gateway all stayed their course, failed to evolve, and now no longer exist.

The allure of the status quo is:

  • It’s easy and comfortable.
  • It reflects how we were trained.
  • Employees and teams advocate for it.
  • We understand the economics of it, so the risk is minimal.
  • Most people don’t speak out against it.
  • Often our leadership is resistant to change.

Overcoming Status Quo

Although it can be daunting to speak up, anyone can challenge the status quo.  But unfortunately, even when we know something should be different, we don’t always dare to take action.  And when we do, we risk our ideas falling on deaf ears or being overruled or ignored.

Here are some approaches that can increase your chances of success when you’re considering a challenge to the status quo.

  1. Ask the Right Questions

If you discover you are frequently asking “why” when you’re following a process or regular course of action, then you’ve likely identified something that needs to be changed or improved.

  1. Prioritize Your Ideas

Perhaps you have a whole list of ideas that you’d like to implement.  If so, it’s essential to pick your battles. Being passionate about change is admirable, but rattling off new ideas every day will see people start to tune out, and your best ideas may get lost among the lesser ones.

  1. Gather Allies

If you’re planning to challenge long-standing attitudes or processes, it can help to have people on your side.  And the more ingrained the status quo you are trying to disrupt, the more and stronger allies you may need.

  1. Perfect Your Pitch

There’s a fine line between firm reasoning and antagonism.  And change is a touchy subject for many people.  If you’re too forceful, you risk people shutting off and perhaps shutting down your idea before you even had the chance to sell it.

  1. Keep Calm and Persevere

If you don’t succeed right away, don’t let exhaustion, anger, or stress get the better of you.  And don’t let hurdles or failures get you down.  Instead, learn from the experience and focus on turning negative emotions around.  Some ideas can take a while to come to fruition.

The Bible

Jesus, our Lord and Savior, came to change the status quo.  Here are four ways He did it.

  1. Jesus rejected “business as usual.”

In the large city of Jerusalem, he attacked the money changers, who were running a racket swapping temple shekels for Roman money at a profit.  Also, there were his frequent warnings about wealth—it was easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle, he said, than for a rich person to get into God’s kingdom.

  1. Jesus turned the law on its head.

While he didn’t break Roman law, there were hundreds of complex and burdensome religious laws that the religious leaders had added to Scripture.  Jesus railed against a religion that focused more on rules than people.

  1. Jesus shunned politics.

The Romans had been occupying and oppressing his home country for about a century.  Some groups tried to appease them, others coexisted, and still, others fought back.  So instead, Jesus avoided politics and, as he explained later to Pontius Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

  1. Jesus made outrageous claims.

In general, Jesus avoided sounding blasphemous, but when other people started calling him Messiah or Son of God, he didn’t correct them.  Yet Jesus also fed the fury, declaring that he existed before Abraham and was “one” with God.

Why did some people have a hard time with Jesus?  He challenged what they believed and cared about.  The same thing happens today.

Being successful is not about doing the same thing over and over.  Instead, it is about doing things better and improving on what we are doing better to serve our clients, communities, and staff.

Challenge the status quo and make a positive difference.