There is one phrase -- one mindset -- that holds back more progress, creative thinking and innovation than any other. It promotes complacency and sends a clear message that stifles curiosity and experimentation. Unfortunately, it is also a fairly common saying within organizations: "That's not how things are done around here."
No organization formally establishes guidelines or policies that prohibit creative problem-solving and new ideas. "That’s not how things are done around here" will not be found in any employee handbook, training or orientation. This mindset is not a stimulus, but rather a response. It is the result of either submission -- yielding to a rigid underlying corporate culture that does not reward new approaches – or the result of fear, when new ideas have been shot down in a negative way, or new ideas that were implemented but unsuccessful were treated as abysmal failures rather than learning experiences.
If employees feel as if their efforts are made in vain, or are not challenged to push themselves to serve the best interests of the brand or company unconditionally, complacency sets in and inspiration wanes.
The digital shift fosters change. It disintermediates industries. It blurs lines that were once clearly defined. In many ways, it creates complexity where there once was order, or at least the perception of order. While the shift itself is well recognized, its cultural impact within marketing organizations is often overlooked -- or at the very least lacks a champion and steward.
We must each find within us the voice to stand behind, and the logic to support, the right recommendations, even if the direction may not fit within the mold of the way things have been done in the past.
Executive leadership should empower employees to confidently yet prudently explore new methods of consumer influence, measurement, applications of data, workflow, collaboration and process. Why restrict your potential because "That’s not how things are done around here"?
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments or hit me on Twitter @jasonheller.