Monday, June 13, 2016

Tomorrow’s greatest enemy

“Tomorrow’s greatest enemy is today’s success.” John Maxwell has said this in several of his books and he repeated it in Home Run a book him and Kevin Myers wrote (By the way, it is worth the read especially if you are in some type of church ministry). The idea is that whatever has made us successful today may not be what we need to be successful tomorrow. 

I fully agree with this statement. It is true, we as humans seem to think that if it worked years ago then it should still work. This makes many people less likely to change and resistant to new ideas. The other thing is when the first problem hits in the new system then instead of working through it everyone reverts back to the way we did it before. I remember working on a team that was starting up a new trailer factory. We were going to be different. We were not going to allow anything to go down the line unless it was right. The company spent six weeks training us in teamwork and mutual responsibility. Any worker on the line was supposed to have the authority to stop production and get a problem fixed. It was a great idea and lasted two minutes the first day of production. The first machine (which I was in charge of) was not set up correctly. To make the walls for the trailers it was going to require us to work in unsafe conditions (placing our hands in places where the machine could smash them) but also the walls themselves would be scratched because of improper conveyer system. It would take a couple days to rework the machine, but upper management came in and said, “We don’t care what you learned, build it.” They said a few other things but I won’t write them. They never did have the “team” they talked about because when the first problem hit, they went back to the old ways. I don’t miss that place. Correction, I never missed that place for any reason even though I was paid well.

There is a problem, however, that is when the idea of trying something new and “cool,” becomes the culture but is not based on need. There is an excitement in trying something new for many people. I see a growing idea in Western Culture that if it's old it’s worthless. The problem is that sometimes tried and true methods are the key to future success and not its enemy. What has worked in the past will work well in the future without much change (if you need proof remember or check out what happen with “New Coke”)

My summary is, just that something old does not mean that it is either good or bad. Something tried and true may be passed it prime or it may never lose it charm. Don’t assume age is the factor, what is or is not working is what we need to consider. This is true in business or in my life’s work, the church. 

It something to consider.

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