Ever since I delivered a keynote on “The Malignancy of Complacency” in a religious gathering at Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria, I’m always watchful of the disease of complacency.
Complacency is the I have arrived attitude. It is “a feeling of being satisfied with how things are, and not wanting to try to make them better: self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.”
I’ve made it, what else? What do you think you can teach me? Do you know how many degrees I have in my name? Do you know how long I have been in business? This is how we use to do it here; what new ideas do you want to introduce? You that started school yesterday, what do you think you know?
To be complacent means to feel satisfied with the current state and to be declined to try to make things better.
The greatest enemy of success is success itself. And the major reason some companies won’t succeed tomorrow is because they have succeeded today. Many businesses in the 21st century have more to fear from complacency than their competitors.
Great business leaders are always on the move. They are always improving. They value yesterday’s success but they know that yesterday ended last night. They are always in pursuit of something—of excellence, of elegance, of better value, of what’s next, of what if, of result, of innovation, of knowledge, of something bigger than them. Every day of their life is an opportunity to improve on their skills, trade, products and services. They make each day a masterpiece.
Success leaves clues. And to be successful in any business endeavor, one must study the life and dispositions of successful business leaders. What’s their success recipe? What do they do in the secret and in the open? How do they spend their time?
The good news is, success is learnable. In other words, if you do what successful people do, if you think the way successful people think, and if you have the same mindset as they do, you sure would have the results that they have.
It is amazing how many businesses are at the verge of collapsing and declaring bankruptcy and the owner is busy wasting precious time watching television in his/her office. Customers are no longer buying from you as they used to and you think it is spiritual. No, it is not spiritual, you’ve only failed in one of the principles of business—continuous and never ending improvement.
“Being good enough, is not good enough.” You must give customers a reason to remain faithful. You must move customers from satisfaction to loyalty by focusing on retention and loyalty. And the best way to do this is to keep improving on a daily basis. This is important because if you don’t give your customers some good reasons to keep buying from you, your competitors will give them a reason to buy from them..
The common denominator that unites all successful business leaders is READING. They are avid readers. Warren Buffet (one of the world’s richest men) reads many pages a day. Is he busy with work just as you’re? May be even more. Bill Gates reads 50 books a year. Mark Zuckerberg reads two books a month. Elon Musk credits his business success to voracious reading. My question for you is, what are you reading? What are you doing each passing day to improve? Maybe the answer is nothing, or maybe you feel you already know everything that needs to be known. Maybe you have arrived!
Do you wonder why Toyota releases new models of their cars every year? Do wonder why Toyota Camry 2019 is different from Toyota Camry 2018? It is because of KAIZEN. Kaizen is a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement. Kaizen is the resolve that you know only one thing; and that thing is that you know nothing. And as such, you’re open to continuous learning and application of new things. You want to develop and build on what you already know.
Kaizen is the secret behind the outstanding business success of Toyota Automobile Company. And today, this philosophy is singularly THE TOYOTA WAY. They are improving every day. They are not sleeping on duty. Their ideas are not lying dormant to collect dust. They are busy around the clock. Improvement! Improvement! Improvement! is the watchword. No matter how little. It could be a little modification, a little alteration, a little adjustment. The fact is, Toyota Camry 2019 is not the same as Toyota Camry 2018.
Knowledge today is as perishable as fresh tomatoes. And unless you commit yourself to a continuous and never ending improvement strategy, you would become obsolete in no distant time.
The figures might be high, but let there be no room for complacency. “You cannot be the same, think the same, and act the same if you hope to be successful in a world that does not remain the same.”