Why does so little change?
Why is there good reason that cars wear bumper stickers that read, “Same Shit, Different Day,” while some of their drivers blast the Young Gunz song by the same name?
It’s because improvement requires more than improvement; it demands change. We humans like improvements, but hate change.
Change entails risk, and we are change-averse because we are risk-averse. Maybe a change will work, but maybe it won’t. Maybe we can do it, but maybe we can’t. Maybe we will fail, and feel ourselves failures. Maybe it will take time and money and produce no return on either investment.
Or maybe we just lack humility and clarity and don’t see the need to change. (This is reflected in business. 86% of companies currently report that they are delivering excellent customer service. Only 13% of customers agree.)
So client and customer service doesn’t improve. In fact, the measurements of both continue to decline. Everyone announces a passionate commitment to serving the customer, but only the slogan changes. Beginning almost three decades ago, we heard the regular mantra about “continuous quality improvement.” That song went off the air years ago; its singers conceded defeat.
Golf provides an interesting illustration. Over the last 20 years, despite improvements in club and ball technology that allow golfers to hit the ball farther and straighter, the average scores (as indicated by certified USGA golf handicaps) has not budged. Golfers flood driving ranges to try to improve on that, and it doesn’t work. Why?
Because they don’t change their grip, their swing, their tempo. They don’t change anything. They just keep practicing the same flawed swing, ball after ball. Hence the saying in golf and other sports: Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes habits.
So golfers don’t improve. They get worst; their bad traits become awful habits.
If nothing changes, nothing changes.
Are you ready to change, willing to change, able to change? (Am I?) Are you sure?
Or are we just going to accept the life described by that bumper sticker?