What Do Weddings and Economic Slowdowns Have in Common?

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small_145402545Simple: Once they’re almost done everything slows down.


Consider a wedding you recently attended. You know when you’ve hit the point of stagnation – most of the courses have been served, the champagne poured and dusk is quickly turning to night. The dance floor is inevitably mostly vacant. The more remote members of the family have started their drive home, the kids are starting to fade, the young singles have mysteriously disappeared and the gluttony of numerous food courses and an open bar has sidelined everyone else.


Similarly, when a downturn in the economy begins, successful companies pull back where they can in order to maintain the bottom line. These cuts frequently happen in the innovation department, whether that’s R&D or somewhere else.  The mentality, which isn’t always incorrect, is essentially “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix (or bother spending money trying to improve) it.” 


What’s a wedding DJ, or a company executive, to do in order to get things moving again?


  1. Change the music:  In stagnant environments, like those that accompany a slow economy, everyone’s afraid to push the envelope too hard. Changing the music means throwing out your current stage gate process that has become overly bureaucratic and slow. Ideas don’t like quicksand – they need excitement, and nothing slow is exciting. Nothing kills excitement and speed like an unnecessary report or meeting.
  2. Change the tempo:  Restarting innovation means deliberately pulling in timeline and milestone requirements. Like with any good dance, the organization should sweat a bit and get the heart rates, and deliverables and outputs, up.
  3. Change the rules:  Innovation is about competition with your old self. In stagnant environments old rules will always hold you back.  Make new rules to break “old” thinking and assumptions and open new avenues to getting ideas up and out the door. In other words, break up the partner dancing and get everyone stepping to a line dance.

That’s our shortlist of getting people out of their chairs. How else do you get the gears moving within your own organization?

photo credit: .faramarz

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Chris LaVictoire Mahai
Chris LaVictoire Mahai is co-owner and managing partner of Aveus, a global strategy and operational change firm. She is also an author. In her book, ROAR, Chris explores what it takes to drive the best possible customers and business performance outcomes through the lenses of speed, predictability, flexibility and leverage.

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