Challenging status quo leads to progress

Last week I delivered a workshop at a conference. Noticing a participant looking strange at me, while I was giving examples of what I did in the past, I asked what she thinks.
“I’m listening to you, and I agree it’s beneficial, but our organisation is different: we’re not allowed to do that!”, she said.
That’s a good point… to start with! If you’re not allowed to do something, you still have options:
1. Accept that forever
2. Accept that for now, and find ways of “fighting” it in a way that’s beneficial to organisation, clients and yourself
3. Live with a permanent internal “fight”, because you do it this way when you know a better way. (Not a fun choice , isn’t it?!)
Did I forget another option? 🙂
I was in her “shoes” many times in the past, but for me only the second option was acceptable. I would provide reasons, brainstorm new ideas, create small a pilot project to get more evidence there might be a better way … until I “win”. It takes time though, but I love to “fight” for a good cause. I can imagine, I was not an easy employee to deal with, from a manager’s perspective. 🙂 The truth is, at the end, even managers liked the way it turned out. Because in fact, it was not a “me” win: it was a win of better ideas versus the status quo, that brings progress and benefit more people and the organisation!
I am a “fighter” in a good way. I’ve always been, and I’ll continue to be… even after the new ideas are implemented. Because there’s always “what’s next?”! 🙂
I’m a strong believer in “Challenging stutus quo leads to progress”. What do you think?



About Gabriela Casineanu

Building a better world by tapping into introvert power. I'm a Thoughts Designer, Trailblazer and Artist, with a background in Engineering, IT, Quality Assurance, Business and Coaching. Yep, seems a lot ... but I came a full circle. :-) I enjoyed every phase I've been through, especially my last years when the pieces of my puzzle start coming together!
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2 Responses to Challenging status quo leads to progress

  1. Thanks for your comment, Flavia, good points.
    That participant took the status quo for granted (“we’re not allowed to do that!”). She didn’t even think about initiating a change until I brought it up. Other participants stepped in with examples and encouragement that it is possible. We didn’t talk about big corporations (they were all from smaller organisations), but I agree with you: even in those big organisations small changes initiated by employees could lead to progress. Starbucks is a great example. They even have such a system in place to encourage front line employees to initiate changes, since they are directly in contact with clients and could better assess their needs and expectations.
    The status quo is just the current status, it could be challenged and changed in the future if someone takes the initiative. In many cases employees don’t even realise their power of changing the status quo. Even very sadle changes, like you mentioned, could lead to a different state in corporations … sometimes long after that employee is gone. I would still consider that a good “battle” (since it leads to progress), even if I will not be there when the real change occurs. 🙂

  2. Flavia says:

    Interesting topic of discussion, Gabriela.
    If everything would always go so smoothly, there would be neither reason nor ambition to fight, hence to progress… The mind will always research points of what does NOT work and will fight until it “fixes” things.
    However, what your participant to the workshop said is equally interesting. It is hard to “fight with icebergs” (example: multinational companies politics), although your fight, even a lost one might be only the beggining of a change – that practically starts progressing the existing situation(state of facts) into a different state, hopefully a better one. True: the status quo leads to progress.

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