Looking outside is great. Looking inside is not a good idea. It leads to navel gazing. Nombrilisme in French, more sophisticated, equally bad.
Organizations often spend 70% looking inwards and 30% outwards. Funny that so much looking inside does not guarantee we find our own internal enemies. Yet, the big enemies are always internal. They are the worse. We are, we say, not for nothing, our worse enemies. We fail to say, but we don’t see them.
We produce self-inflicted bounds with ease and create barriers that we don’t need. Some people exercise sabotage as a corporate sport. In my many years of corporate and consulting experience, I have come to the conclusion that many companies are successful despite themselves. Many leadership teams are effective despite themselves. Many people make money despite themselves.
If we keep looking inwards, the least we could do is to buy ourselves a good pair of glasses, so that we can identify our guerrillas, our hidden missile silos, our permanent borders disputes.
It seems sometimes – I’ve seen it even in good and prosperous clients- that if there is a more complicate road, we will take it. It reminds me of an old joke about a parliamentarian in my home country: ‘Ladies and gentlemen; I have 3 key points that I will summarise in 7’
The enemy is inside. It’s not the market, it’s not the competitors, it’s not the product. It is more likely to be us.
There is a built-in masochism in corporate life that seems almost inevitable.
About time we fight the right battles. The inner ones.
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