Compliance May Kill Your Soul
Most of us have been trained (if not brainwashed) to value compliance over innovation. There is a false notion that says that we will be rewarded within an organization or company for not “rocking the boat” too much. Stay quiet, do your work, keep the top-level leaders happy, and don’t complain. Be thankful that you have a job, right?
While many organizations will never verbally articulate these thoughts in such a straightforward manner, their internal cultures undeniably communicate them clearly on a daily basis.
If you find yourself in this kind of environment, you have some choices to make. You can either choose to live in compliance (which may never lead to the kind of change you hope to see in your organization) or take courage through acts of innovation (which may actually change your organization and even your life).
I used to think years ago that the latter choice was far more risky (i.e., acting in courage), but I am now convinced that the former is actually the one that undercuts your hope for change. Here’s why:
- Compliance by definition works away from innovation. It’s priorities tend to lean more heavily towards control, seniority, and the way it’s always been done. Expecting change while being compliant (in a general sense) is irrational. You may (and will) end up in places of deep frustration. Living this way will suck the life out of your soul.
- Very few people, if any, who have “succeeded” in their vocation did so through compliance. Can you name one? (Thought so.) Most took it upon themselves to go above and beyond expectations and even challenged systems and cultures along the way. “But what if…?” – Don’t wallop in hypotheticals. Okay, if you’re going to think hypothetical, how about these?: “What if you don’t go for it and live in regret? What if you end up being the person you never wanted to be in a company you never wanted to work for? What if…?” Live life forward.
- The fear of “rocking the boat” (or being reprimanded because of it) is irrational. I think most organizations do want to innovate, but have no idea that they are building a culture that is contrary. Ironic…I know. Got to love organizational schizophrenia. Back to my point…I don’t know too many people that have lost their jobs because they initiated new ideas for change that would ultimately help the company. As long as you’re not a jerk or self-serving, I don’t see why leadership would not at least consider the possibility of your idea (unless you’re working for the wrong people).
- I know you have ideas that can help your organization. Don’t be selfish with them. Even worse, your lack of implementing these ideas can also hurt your company. If the overall goal is improvement, please share.
- If by some chance you happen to be in an organization that has no innate desire to innovate, what are you doing there?! Go find life elsewhere.
I recognize that some of these points are easier said than done. Nevertheless, you have to be mindful of what’s at stake here. It’s really about whether or not you want to live life to the fullest.
My two cents…