Organizations, teams, and individuals that are striving for success tend to be strict in their ideals while being flexible in their processes.
You come across resourceful individuals and groups who approach issue solving from a first-principles perspective. Once they have agreed on the principles, they may begin experimenting with different techniques to get things done and, in general, finding a way to succeed against all difficulties.
Disruptors are very adept at this. They do not get entangled in the process that incumbents are subjected to as a result of their position.
It is important to start with basic principles, including being obsessed with the demands of the consumer and working through techniques that will assist them in meeting their goals, which are often less expensive.
The single principle that governs their work is the concept of experimenting.
However, once success is achieved, it is common for things to shift. Businesses and individuals who have achieved success tend to get obsessed with the methods that lead to that achievement. Suddenly, they become stiff in terms of the method while remaining flexible in terms of ideals.
Hiring and customer service are often the first areas to suffer as a result of this. When businesses are small, they tend to concentrate on a few basic concepts and take a more improvisational approach to recruit.
However, after they have achieved success, the executives involved often persuade themselves that a certain archetype [who looks a lot like them] is the most effective for their teams.
In a similar vein, customer support representatives are instructed to concentrate on their manuals rather than genuinely trying to fix the client’s issue and show concern for them.
When we start our businesses we are experimental, but once we succeed, we shift from being experimental to being inflexible and rigid.
It’s possible that this is also why the majority of great athletes make bad coaches, and why ultra-successful people have difficulty becoming good parents.
Assuming that we must boil it all down to attitude, the most straightforward way to convey this would be to say that successful businesses and individuals begin with a development mindset.
The problem is that as time goes on, individuals tend to believe their hype, they drink their own kool-aid and adopt a fixed way of thinking about themselves and the world around them.
Their attention becomes more concentrated on maintaining or extending territory and persuading themselves that they are correct rather than testing and experimenting with an openness to failure and the readiness to learn from their mistakes.
Naturally, in the long term, the minute they begin to stray from the ideas that have made them great is the time when their success begins to come to a grinding halt.
Jeff Bezos once said:
“Our success at Amazon is a function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day.
Principles must be rigid, but processes must be flexible, problems start when vice versa happens.