The problem with comfort zones is that we stick with them even when they are no longer fit for purpose. We prefer to squeeze ourselves into an awkward space as long as it’s familiar, rather than expanding into the unknown. Comfort zones prevent us from doing anything that goes beyond what we already know. In other words, they are a prison.
Choosing our comfort zone over the truth then becomes a way to give up, to deny our potential and just accept what already exists, even when it’s wrong.
How can we shift out of our comfort zone? By surfacing the assumptions we make and questioning our mental models. Mental models are ways of seeing the world and we don’t even realize how much they influence our behaviour until we have the courage to question them. We can thank Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt for creating the Thinking Process Tools that provide a precisely engineered method for working on our mental models.
Comfort zones and organizations
We live in a comfort zone in our organizations. We like to think that the competencies we need can be neatly sectioned off into functions and that we can control pretty much everything through a vertical line of command.
Instead, what we urgently need today is to retrofit our organizations so they are designed to thrive in complexity. That means thinking, speaking and behaving in a way that is suitable for our new, non-linear reality, beyond predictable cycles. It’s a reality that requires continuous adaptation and innovation. We need organizations designed to build Quality, create Involvement and accelerate Flow. Systemic management allows us to do just that. The work of W. Edwards Deming and the Theory of Constraints combine together to provide all the knowledge we need as well as the method and tools for truly systemic management.
Digital, at an ever-increasing speed, is re-defining the entirety of work processes and blurring the line between the physical activities connected with designing, producing and selling goods and services. That is why a systemic management approach is the most effective way today to take stock and rethink how to deliver the goal of the organization through a network of projects. This ensures an organization designed to build Quality, create Involvement and accelerate Flow.
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About the Author
Angela Montgomery Ph.D. is Partner and Co-founder of Intelligent Management and author of the business novel+ website The Human Constraint . This downloadable novel uses narrative to look at how the Deming approach and the Theory of Constraints can create the organization of the future, based on collaboration, network and social innovation. She is co-author with Dr. Domenico Lepore, founder, and Dr. Giovanni Siepe of ‘Quality, Involvement, Flow: The Systemic Organization’ from CRC Press, New York.