R for Resistance, Resolve and Radical

Neil ButlerUntypical Thoughts

The three R’s used to be reading, writing and arithmetic – ironically, as the basis of fundamental education, only one of the three is an R.

Time for us to consider three different R’s. A few weeks ago, I published a three R’s post headed, reset, re-establish and re-generate. But today, another three R’s are in focus.

Firstly resistance. I spoke about resistance a few days ago. It is to be expected whenever true transformation is on the agenda. Everyone loves the security of what they know and trust but given the unavoidable disruption we’ve encountered in the first half of 2020, that security has gone.

There are two ways this could go and it will be an individual choice. One is to try even harder to hold onto any small remaining piece of their security blanket which will lead to even higher levels of resistance. Others will choose to take this opportunity to acknowledge that their safety net has been torn away and will at least try hard to embrace the changes that are inevitable.

Where do you sit on this one? Are you going to actively resist the transformation of your business in the hope that one day things will go back to normal or are you going to try really hard to offer minimal resistance and move forward to a new transformed post-COVID business? It really is a choice that you can make.

The second R is resolve. Closely linked to other words like determination and bravery, successful businesses are going to be the ones with the resolve to deliver a transformation that 12 months ago could never be foreseen. Resolve is defined as a firm determination to do something. Without it, businesses will drift along and never really settle on a way forward.

Identify your colleagues who display resolve and, as a tip, don’t always look at the top of the organisation. There are people with resolve throughout your organisation. Find them and engage them in your transformation program.

Finally, our third R is radical. Radical is often seen as the polar opposite of conservative and therefore seen by many as being a bad thing.

In what we are doing right now – to drive towards the transformed version of your organisation that will flourish post-COVID – we absolutely need to behave in a manner that is the polar opposite of conservative. As you will know, I like to quote from our modern-day philosophers – the lyricists of the 60s, 70s and 80s – and today it is the turn of Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees. In the song he wrote as the theme for the 1978 movie, Grease, he stated that “conventionality belongs to yesterday”.

Conventional thinking is the first cousin of conservative behaviour. We need to think radically if we want our business to stand out from the crowd. Many organisations developed their point of difference based on what used to be. That’s just not going to work anymore. It’s time to think radically.

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