I’ve been enjoying Mark Brady’s Fouroboros for a while now.
Here he gets at some important truths about those who propose change
inside organizations. There was a time when I thought this kind of
response was appropriate even when I was upset by it. Now, it simply
annoys me and Mark provides some ammunition to address the underlying
fear it ultimately represents.
When you do decide to run anyway, might as well run with scissors as well.
Take it easy. You’re making us look bad.
“We have to walk before we can run.”
Overheard that nugget being used to flog a really smart person today.
Infants have to walk before they run. But they only run if their
parents let them; only if those parents remember that falling and
getting a boo-boo is part of growth and ambition.
But “walk before we can run” gets used by 45-year olds overseeing
30-year olds all working for 75-year old companies. Not too many
diapers in those boardrooms. Just plenty of “wubbies.”
No, “We” don’t run because those who can grant permission–encourage
the running–prefer to walk. Walking is a higher percentage endeavor in
their eyes. A lower exertion one, too. Running is not their ambition, exposure makes them anxious. Horizons make them squint.
Problem is, people are hard-wired to run. And to admire the fleet of
foot. And to follow them. In business and evolution, running is a primary adaptation that allowed man to climb to the top of the heap. Running ahead too far has it’s dangers
certainly, but those are issues of direction and purpose, not
speed–running just to run, to feel or look busy, not to get somewhere.
Too bad Darwin proves the “walk before we run” business people wrong.
Too bad, for all of us, that what “walk before we run” people really
usually mean is: I prefer camouflage to speed. And average over ambition.
Run. As soon as you can walk. You’ll encounter more numerous
useful experiences. You won’t get eaten as easily. And you’ll like who
you become. [8Fouroboros]