Have you ever sat back and marveled at just how well things are going? Have you found yourself rejoicing that finally, things are calm, predictable and consistent? And, have you found yourself in these same moments worried sick that you may lose relevance, become complacent and fall into failure?

Human nature is to seek comfort and to avoid pain.

It is natural to relax and maintain the status quo following periods of hard work and challenging change. You don’t relax because you don’t want success, you relax because discomfort and pain are exhausting. It is hard to be motivated to change or improve when things are going well.

I was listening to a podcast by Andy Stanley recently and he said, “Every system will unconsciously conspire to maintain status quo and prevent change.” One of the most often repeated phrases you will ever hear me say is that “Every organization is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” Organizations do what organizations are designed to do. Unless your organization is designed to innovate, improve and change – it will not.

I find that many leaders don’t want the status quo, they want to improve and they seek change. They also live in the whirlwind and fight the most urgent battles vs the most important ones. This cycle of living in the doom loop and reacting day by day to urgent but not important things prevents you from improving and becoming better.

Many leaders fear failure but more importantly, they fear becoming irrelevant.

In an effort to avoid irrelevancy, too many leaders follow fads, trends and the next best thing. Fighting the status quo and chasing fads are not the same thing. Fads are fads. They come and they go. It is the leader that truly desires to make things better and to improve every day that successfully fights the status quo and in turn, maintains relevancy.

Relevancy isn’t something that you achieve, it’s a result of your disciplined desire for making things better. Relevancy may come by doing the same thing for 40 years, but doing that thing better and better each day. It may come by reinventing yourself and changing your model and method annually. No matter how it comes, it comes by discipline and with purpose.

Let’s get practical…

Practical Idea #1:  Hot Shot

Last week at the Leadercast Live event I learned a great concept from Kat Cole, President of Focus Brands (Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s, etc.).

The idea is called Hot Shot. Once a quarter or a couple of times a year you consider an important question.

If I left my job, business, organization tomorrow and a new Hot Shot came in and took over my role, what would be the first thing they would change?

Ask yourself this Hot Shot question and then do that.

Practical Idea #2:  Change your Design

If every organization is perfectly designed to get the results it gets, you need to change your design and quit complaining about your results. Look at all of the good going on and ask “How are we designed currently to get our good results?” If you don’t know the key things that drive and allow for your good results, you may not know what key things to keep doing.

Similarly, ask yourself “How are we designed currently to get our poor results?” Poor performance doesn’t happen by accident. Identify how you are designed to get the results you don’t want – stop doing those things and change your design.

Practical Idea #3:  Kill the Status Quo

Ask yourself where you are allowing status quo in your team, your life or your organization. Point it out. Give it a name. Create a plan to kill it. If you don’t identify the areas of status quo, you can’t prevent it.


Relevancy isn’t something that you achieve, it’s a result of your disciplined desire for making things better. It doesn’t happen by accident and it isn’t easy. No great opportunity has ever come in a neatly wrapped package. If you are to maintain relevancy it starts with your desire to do so and the discipline to make it happen. You can do this!

Lead Well, Lead Often and LEAD STRONG!