In business, the comfort zone has never been a good place to be. Companies that get too comfortable risk becoming irrelevant, obsolete—and extinct. This is particularly true in today’s business world where the forces of globalization; new social, mobile, analytical and cloud technologies; and fast-changing customer, employee and partner demands encroach on our comfort zones daily—making discomfort the new comfort zone.
Business leaders need to recognize that this perpetual assault on their comfort zone can create opportunities—to challenge established practices and win against complacent competition. Forget the common advice to “extend your comfort zone” (which always sounds to me like merely dipping a toe in the water). Winning enterprises must seek to perpetually live in their “discomfort zone”—by continually questioning conventional wisdom, reinventing work, and welcoming disruptive innovation.
How do enterprises, ecosystems, and employees function in the perpetual discomfort zone? D’Souza:
- Think fast and think forward. Intentionally establish new areas of discomfort.
- Compete on code and manage on meaning. Decode data surrounding customers, markets and products.
- Agility is the killer behavior. Develop the ability to maneuver through a perpetual discomfort zone.
- Banish “not invented here” and embrace “invented there.” Look outside the company walls for ideas .
- Erase boundaries between core and context. What’s core today may be context tomorrow.
- Challenge the comfort zone. Collaborate with peer group to find new solutions to critical work challenges.
- Never stop learning. How are you acquiring, refining and applying new knowledge for tomorrow?
If you’re going to bed feeling comfortable then you’re probably not pushing yourself or your company hard enough. I recommend that you read D’Souza’s post–Discomfort Is the New Comfort Zone–on LinkedIn’s Pulse.
May you sleep well in your new state of perpetual discomfort.