Rise of the Resistance
“The riskiest thing we can do is maintain the status quo.”
While many LEADon® team members have been fans of Disney park rides for years, those Disneyphiles were over the moon with their experience at the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction. Tens of thousands seem to agree, with people willing to wait hours to participate in this interactive “ride.” As one detailed post explains, the dark trackless experience is “the culmination of 65 years of imagineering” (you can read Braden Nelsen’s extensive April 2023 article on Rise of the Resistance at www.insidethemagic.com).
Aside from countless extraordinary surprises in this Galaxy’s End attraction, we were most impressed by the gamble involved in creating and developing such an unusual project—but risk-taking is exactly what Imagineers have done for decades. And as Bob Iger (CEO of The Walt Disney Company twice over) pointed out in the quote above, it may actually be more dangerous to maintain the norm than to try something new.
Despite success stories like this one, it’s not unusual for leaders to wonder: Why would anyone want to mess with what’s working right now?
In other words, why take a risk if it isn’t absolutely necessary? Is it worth preparing for future possibilities that may never happen?
The problem is, what’s occurring right now might not be the same tonight, tomorrow, or even a week from Tuesday. And while we may feel pretty comfortable with our calm, cozy, and currently predictable circumstances, savvy leaders realize such blissful status quo doesn’t last forever. In fact, take a few minutes to consider how long equilibrium has lasted in:
Your org chart
The list could go on and on. Although a perfectly peaceful status quo may have reigned for a season or more, something or someone will eventually saunter in and shake up that stability. Why? Because markets shift. Prices rise. Colleagues quit. Fans become foes. Again, the list could go on and on.
So, what’s to be done?
Like Imagineers, exceptional leaders need to seek out new perspectives and innovations long before the need for them arises. At LEADon, we describe this as breaking free from the status quo and meeting resistance to change head on. Resistance? Yes, resistance—and not the George Lucas inspirational kind. We’re talking about people in your various spheres of influence who feel secure with equilibrium and don’t want to even hear about new products, processes, or future possibilities.
Remember, status quo is a comfort zone for many individuals. Actually, it’s quite human to want to maintain the norm—even when change could be better than anyone currently envisions. This is when exceptional leaders can have tremendous impact as they help others rise to their potential and prepare for what the future might hold.
Let’s summarize a few of these points so you can consider the next steps in your leadership:
- Become future focused. Consider new perspectives and innovations that your organization may require in order to stay relevant.
- Be on the lookout for resistance to the improvements you wish to implement. Directly address such resistance, letting your team members know why breaking free from the status quo can be beneficial for everyone involved.
In addition to these initial steps for moving beyond the current state of equilibrium, we’d also suggest the following course of action:
- Encourage collaboration and cooperation throughout your organization, harnessing collective experiences that will allow for future forecasting and forward momentum.
In our online course, LEADing Through Resistance and Status Quo®, we recommend five actions items that will foster unity of purpose in your spheres of influence. One of the most essential is to create buy-in from those you lead, helping everyone recognize the need for discarding a “let’s just do what we do” approach and embracing a “let’s break through and do something new” attitude. As we explain in Chapter 3 of The LEADing Edge: 9 Strategies for Improving Internal and Intentional Leadership (Wilke & Wilke, 2019), nurturing this kind of commonality of purpose involves the alignment (intellectual agreement) and attunement (emotional commitment) of team members throughout your organization.
Our experiences with leaders in a variety of industries have provided ample evidence that intentionally striving to break free from status quo naturally pays off. Leadership improve. Teams become high performing. Productivity rises, especially as resistance is quelled with appropriate intervention. And of course, profits seem to always increase when change catalysts look to the future—and beyond.
As Nelsen pointed out in his Inside the Magic post, when you have team members who strive to outdo themselves “the possibilities are almost endless.” The same could be true for you and your organization. If LEADon can assist you and your team in this endeavor, please contact us at 858.592.0700 or www.LEADonUniversity.com.