What Causes Business Gridlock?


Your organisation comes with a series of parameters and rules. They may not be written down and officially part of your process, but they are there.


They probably developed incrementally over time as a means to create efficiency. Little steps to help avoid traffic jams and gridlocks and organise your staff to produce your existing offering more efficiently than before.

That’s fine in a foreseeable environment. But who operates in a foreseeable environment? You don’t.



The Efficient Way To Kill Your Business



These rules effectively paint your people and your business into a corner. Each rule introduced for efficiency limits potential. It cuts off an option that could have been taken. That could have led to something new.

This is partly because rules push out diverse thinkers. Psychologist, Benjamin Schnieder, finds that the people who help build something new aren’t wanted in an organisation that knows what it wants to produce. We tend to hire people who look more and more the same over time. They reinforce the existing culture.  

When change comes -  and let’s be clear here, change is inevitable - you need to find what Apple calls “the crazy ones”, the staff members who have been a thorn in everyone’s side.

Because those people, with wild ideas and the grit, guts and gumption to put them forward, exist in the start-up or the forward-thinking competitor that’s going to be a sword in your side. A potentially deadly sword.

Staying alive isn’t about making something more efficient than it already is. Businesses are experts in refining and creating efficiency. It’s just about doing what you already do better. And it’s relatively easy to do.

You’re dealing with a number of known variables. Soon, if not already, machine learning will be able to run all the potential combinations of these known variables to determine the most efficient combination.

Efficiency is not where your potential lies.

Your potential lies in the unknown variables. The things that aren’t immediately obvious. Things that people can see that computers can’t. That aren’t easy to do because they break the rules and go outside the parameters. Things that tend to meet resistance in businesses.  

People are experts at inventing possibilities. In business, they’re usually lousy at making them happen.

Conditions need to be conducive to unlocking the unseen. The crazy ones need to know that they’re valued. That they’re free to explore their ideas. That their ideas will be respected and appreciated.  That they’ll never hear “We can’t because...”   

“We can if...” is the most powerful phrase your business will ever hear or utter.

When efficiency gets out of the way, possibilities can enter. Unlimited possibilities mean unlimited potential. Businesses with unlimited potential have what it takes to thrive through change.

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Author: John Halpin