Culture, business and society at large stays the same until status quo becomes too painful to maintain. Then sometimes, it changes.
Oftentimes, though, it clings to the “good old days.”
The days when sales and confidence were high. When numbers increased month-over-month. The years when conversion was up, again!
Management clings to the days when there was a roadmap. And make no mistake, following the map does come with perks.
Why follow the rules?
Well, first of all, it’s painful to change. The system rewards you for playing nicely inside the box. Your salary covers your mortgage. You can work somewhere all week, and at the end of the week, you get to buy stuff.
It’s not all that bad to clock in, is it? Some of us have jobs that are relatively tranquil tapping away at the keyboard or sending emails to someone else and waiting for a response. It’s not Hollywood, but it beats working in a 1850’s factory. Plus it’s the smart choice while the kids are still in school.
So what’s the incentive to change if you don’t have to?
If the perks of staying the same are good, the perks of change are Kendrick Lamar.
People who decide to initiate change get to lead and leaders always get the memos first.
They always get the “inside scoop.” They get to make the trend and ride it down. They are the ones who benefit from bubbles, booms and innovations.
Followers can do very well in life, too. But leaders who really dig in have an opportunity not just to survive — but to thrive.
Most importantly, true leaders will move on before a given system, organization or idea stops working because they know it isn’t about playing the game perfectly right — but about taking shots and being willing to accept the bewildered stares of their peers as they venture into new territory.
Leadership is not about becoming the most famous person in your space — although many leaders do become very well known.
It’s not about making the most money at the thing you’re doing — although it seems to be a rule that leaders always make substantially more than followers.
The point of leadership is to do the brave thing first, then get the rest of the tribe there.
It is incredibly scary to expose yourself to the level of risk you’ll need to take in order to be a great leader.
But don’t worry. You can always go back to school and get a Masters.