Cruise Control Culture

Have they given up? Have you given up?

That’s a question you have to wrestle with as an organization and individual. 

Giving up could be the result of what you might call a comfortable culture. It’s on cruise control. Whereas at some point in the past, people were excited to push things, create things, challenge things, and make things better, now they’re content to, well, just sort of do their thing and go home. Now they weren’t initially wired this way, mind you. They probably actually used to detest this mindset in themselves and others. But now–after months and/or years of pushing against negative culture, prodding their managers for feedback and empowerment, and running into bureaucratic dead end after bureaucratic dead end when pursuing their ideas–they’ve given up. They’re tired. Frustrated. Fed up. They’ve lost the energy and spirit to press on. The feel powerless.

And they might be sitting right next to you.

The tricky part is that an organization can often coast this way for quite some time, especially if things are, at least outwardly, “fine.” Things being “fine” is what makes leaders sometimes feel okay just putting in cruise control. The danger, of course, is that being “fine” and then just cruising is setting your organization up for big, big trouble. Perhaps not today. Perhaps not tomorrow. But it’s coming.

Another difficulty is that it’s easy for leaders to feel too comfortable in the “fine.” They’re fine with it (see what I did there?). There’s no sense of urgency to continue to grow and improve themselves, and there’s certainly no sense of urgency to help others do the same. I mean, things are “fine,” after all.

But what if just “fine” is the first step toward eventual irrelevance and failure?

2 comments

  1. Ben Nelson says:

    This is so right – true in all areas of life, not just workplace. True in relationships and in your spiritual life. Thanks for the encouragement to live with my foot on the gas!
    Ben

  2. Cruise control is a dangerous feature of a car because it makes the driver less involved and thus less aware of their surroundings. Cruise control results in less-involved driving if not completely distracted driving! I’ve always known how bad cruise control is. Now I realize why it’s so bad on a general level.

    Push your comfort level envelope. Driving faster (if the driver is more aware) is safer. Live life in the lane with the least traffic. Pass on the right. Never use cruise control haha… but I’m serious.

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