Why We Don't Do It : Strategy and The Fat Smoker by David Maister

I loved this ChangeThis manifesto, 'Strategy & the Fat Smoker' by David Maister (widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on the management of professional service firms).



Much of what professional firms do in the name of strategic planning is a complete waste of time, no more effective than individuals making New Year’s resolutions.


The reasons are the same in both situations. Personally and professionally, we already know what we should do: lose weight, give up smoking, exercise more. In business, strategic plans are also stuffed with familiar goals: build client relationships, act like team players, provide fulfilling, motivating careers.


We want the benefits of these things. We know what to do, we know why we should do it and we know how to do it. Yet we don’t change, most of us, as individuals or as businesses.


The problem is that many change efforts are based on the assumption that all you have to do is to explain to people that their life could be better, be convincing that the goals are worth going for and show them how to do it.


This is patently false. If this were true, there would be no drug addicts in the world, no alcoholics, no bad marriages: “Oh, I see, it’s not good for me? Ah, well then, I’ll stop, of  course!” What nonsense!


...


The primary reason we do not work at areas in which we know we need to improve is that the rewards (and pleasures) are in the future; the disruption, discomfort and discipline needed to get there are immediate. 


To reach our goals, we must first change our lifestyle, our daily habits, now. Then we have to have the courage to keep up the new habits and not yield to all the old familiar temptations. Then, and only then, we get the benefits.



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