The first week of July features both our national holiday, Canada Day, and Independence Day for our neighbours to the south. For many people, it’s a road trip week – headed to visit family, go camping, or just see another part of one’s town or country. We’ve observed two kinds of travelers during the many road trips we have taken: those who seek out the familiar, and those who prefer a little novelty. The familiars eat at McDonald’s or some other well-known chain, sleep at Ramadas or Holiday Inns, and stick to the highway. The adventurers prefer the back roads, local inns, and take chances on tiny eateries.
Making change in your organization is much the same – you can implement it in a way that feels comfortable, easing slowly into new methods or behaviours. Or, you can have revolution instead of evolution, opting to head boldly toward the unknown.
Either way can work, but by-and-large they are mutually exclusive. So as you forge ahead, decide which works best and strike out in that direction. Which road will you take to make change in how you work?
Megann and Steve
Do what you know best, and keep on doing it…what does that really mean? It’s a question we’ve been pondering lately, as we watch clients struggling with the need to grow and adapt, and the desire to hold on to what is central to their culture and narrative. Certainly there’s value to concentrating on one’s core competencies. But what is “your knitting”, exactly? Is it flat, straight stitches, carrying on, row-after-row? Or is it a series of complicated cables, winding in and out, never losing the path but requiring extreme effort to follow? Perhaps it’s a crazy, multi-coloured pattern, like fair isle – traditional, yet different every time. For knitters, it can be all of these things, and more. So the idea that “what you’re best at” can be only one thing is an over-simplification of the concept.
Knitting, at its essence, is comprised of two simple stitches: knit, and purl. Similarly with your business or product, there is something fundamental to which you should hold fast. But this doesn’t mean for a minute that there isn’t room for growth or change. Apple, for example, built computers that were simple, beautiful, and easy to use. Yet no one today would think of them simply as “a computer company”. So at your next strategy meeting, when someone says you are straying too far from the status quo, and suggests you might want to “stick to your knitting”, make sure you know what that means. Break down what it is that you do to its pure substance, and decide what it is that you absolutely can’t afford to change. Then feel free to change everything else. As long as you don’t lose track of how to knit and to purl…you can be any kind of knitter you can imagine.
Helping unravel your challenges,
Megann and Steve