By Dave Kahle

Is the Allure of the Status Quo Holding You Back?



I am in the middle of a sales manager’s training class. Inevitably, as we methodically examine the best practices of effective sales managers, someone is going to comment, “We do it like this……” and then dismiss everything we’ve just discussed.  It doesn’t matter if the process we are discussing has been proven to be more effective, or that it is the result of some dedicated people studying the issue.  “We do it like this….” ends the conversation.

That knee-jerk reaction is understandable.  While, in my case, the issue is a best practice for a sales manager, the issue is larger and more common than this narrow application. Whenever we confront a process, tactic, strategy, or tool that is more effective — whether it is our personal life or our business structure – our knee jerk reaction is often the same: Find a reason to dismiss the change and thus absolve yourself of the responsibility to do it better.

The status quo is comfortable. When we consider changing it, our hearts pump harder, our palms become a bit sweatier while our heads search for multiple reasons why it will never work and shouldn’t be considered.

Is the status quo automatically better than a well-researched, well thought-out, proven process that will cause you to change your behavior in order to get better results?  Just because something is, doesn’t mean that it should be.

How did that current process or practice come to be?  I have worked with hundreds of businesses and found that very few processes and practices were put in place by a team of the best people strategically defining a process to get the best results.

The reality is that the current position was probably put in place sometime in the undefined past, by people unknown, probably to address a crises situation.  It got repeated and eventually codified into routines that eventually manifest as “We do it this way….”  Most of the practices and procedures are there because they are there, not because they were strategically designed.

So, why then is it so common to out-of-hand reject a change in routines without even considering the consequences? I suspect that the majority of humankind fears change and shuns the investment of energy and ego necessary to see it through. Not that this is new.  Machiavelli said, “It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.”

Yet, what is true for most people is not necessarily true for all. There are people among us who are responsible for much of the progress in the world.  They begin with a healthy self-confidence and are motivated by what I call the More Mindset. That’s a way of looking at the world and seeing that there is more to accomplish, more to become, and more to achieve than what is defined by the status quo. Add to that a seasoning of courage, and you have the recipe for a high-performing, successful person and an influential company.  It takes courage to put your status quo up for inspection. It takes self-confidence to say, “There may be a better way.”  And it takes the More Mindset to add fuel to the process.

People so equipped won’t be dismissing any best practices with “We do it this way…”


Copyright MMXVII by Dave Kahle

About the author:

Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales authorities. He’s written twelve books, presented in 47 states and eleven countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of salespeople and transform hundreds of sales organizations. His book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime, has been recognized by three international entities as “one of the five best English language business books. Check out his latest book, The Good Book on Business.