In my first job out of college, I worked as a Cobol programmer updating the computer code that ran the processing of corporate and individual tax returns for the state of New Jersey. That was 1980. I recently spoke with a friend who still works there who revealed they were still working off the same code. I was shocked because I remember that the code module printouts, which took up thousands of pages, contained logic that was complex, convoluted and very inefficient.
She told me that multiple attempts had been made to replace the system with modern software but they all failed because no one could really understand the entire system. “I guess they were afraid to change it and mess it up,” she said.
It seemed to me that the decision-makers were willing to risk the failure of an ancient system and live with its expense and inefficiency rather than tackle the problem with the plans, resources and gusto required to create a reliable system that would save millions in manpower over time. That may just be my gut diagnosis, but it points out a problem that I call being trapped inside the “legacy box.”
I came up with the idea of a “legacy box” over many years of consulting with hundreds of companies and organizations over the years. I found that the speed of change and progress at most organizations is painfully slow. At a few, the ones I enjoyed working with the most, I found that the pace of change was either fast or at least moderate and steady with periodic pauses, like a well-composed piece of music.
Like the legacy software that programmers have to deal with, there are legacy attributes, systems, processes, cultures and business models that hold organizations back. I am going to dive into these in the next several contributions to Insight Tuesday. But let me start with one underlying problem that can trap any organization or individual: fear of change.
Fear can be paralyzing. It leads to the acceptance of less than ideal conditions for personal and corporate growth. In complex organizations, it can become engrained because of the interdependency of people, departments and power structures that can be personally threatening. This can be obvious and oppressive in some places. In others, it can be subtle, quietly holding companies and employees back.
My belief is that the human spirit was designed to be free from fear. We are meant to embrace change in order to create a better future. I see this exhibited in five-year-olds navigating playgrounds, college students changing majors in their junior year, and entrepreneurs financing a dream on their credit cards. Fear is both a symptom and a condition. If you can identify the symptom, you can examine the condition and choose to overcome it.
September 20, 2016
Written by Tom Sullivan
In this week's Marketing Insight, Director of Brand Innovation, Manish Patel, sheds light on what up-and-coming job… https://t.co/L5Ai5ecJws
March 8 - 6:53 pm - View on Twitter
In this week’s Marketing Insight, CEO Tom Sullivan discusses behavior change through the lens of Social Accountabil… https://t.co/HlOOBLiGdW
February 1 - 6:59 pm - View on Twitter
In this week's Marketing Insight, CEO Tom Sullivan shares a ten-minute talk about his unique approach to developing… https://t.co/7yaFXSnx8Z
January 10 - 4:41 pm - View on Twitter
There's still time to "gift" back this holiday! Check out our top 10 cause-based picks for the undecided shopper. https://t.co/HpVeLNHuGn
December 18 - 4:20 pm - View on Twitter
In this week’s Marketing Insight, CEO Tom Sullivan puts a spotlight on five successful, inspiring companies whose c… https://t.co/ZEWZw42Okq
December 13 - 7:32 pm - View on Twitter
In this week’s Marketing Insight, CEO Tom Sullivan shares some personal reflections on how to respond to today’s of… https://t.co/43WRKaYkI5
December 6 - 6:06 pm - View on Twitter
In this week’s Marketing Insight, Director of Brand Innovation, Manish Patel, discusses the impact of digital gamin… https://t.co/fYfSgLRRCk
November 29 - 5:09 pm - View on Twitter
At PPI, we love all things spooky. Check out our Halloween Video for a creepy treat! https://t.co/tKQHPyuvpm
October 31 - 2:33 pm - View on Twitter
In this week’s Marketing Insight, Director of Brand Innovation, Manish Patel, shares a personal anecdote that sheds… https://t.co/xc9uCVFHFK
October 11 - 6:50 pm - View on Twitter
CEO Tom Sullivan discusses several approaches for developing an informed, data-driven content strategy to boost the… https://t.co/0Nbz61DCd9
September 27 - 5:15 pm - View on Twitter
In this week's Marketing Insight, CEO Tom Sullivan continues to explore what we can learn from FAANG's Walled Garde… https://t.co/JeUvsfcDSb
September 19 - 4:30 pm - View on Twitter
In this week's Marketing Insights, CEO Tom Sullivan discusses the Walled Garden approach that FAANG companies, and… https://t.co/vRDzMWoAs9
September 12 - 3:26 pm - View on Twitter
In this week's Marketing Insights, Associate Creative Director, Tim Burr, discusses how a focused approach to marke… https://t.co/5loRgrFdUS
September 5 - 4:44 pm - View on Twitter
Check out our last installment of our Voice "mini-camp" series where VP of Marketing and Media Strategy, Chris Sull… https://t.co/6yxEmeYu9G
August 30 - 3:13 pm - View on Twitter
In our third Voice Marketing Insight, VP of Marketing & Media Strategy, Chris Sullivan, explores how marketers can… https://t.co/vjHPQEcWbe
August 16 - 3:50 pm - View on Twitter
VP of Marketing & Media Strategy, Chris Sullivan, discusses the importance of persona development and Audio Identit… https://t.co/fYSbIZGLED
August 7 - 4:41 pm - View on Twitter
In the first Insight of a "mini-camp" series on voice marketing, VP of Marketing & Media Strategy, Chris Sullivan,… https://t.co/tFgqjVh11C
July 31 - 7:05 pm - View on Twitter
CEO Tom Sullivan explores the recent succession of CEOs in the Fiat Chrysler Automotive and Ferrari families, and h… https://t.co/yIoeSKdhov
July 24 - 3:05 pm - View on Twitter
Check out my latest #podcast https://t.co/eFFLCk7uYn on #Podbean
July 23 - 9:02 pm - View on Twitter
Check out my latest #podcast https://t.co/D9dl82LjkP on #Podbean
July 23 - 8:52 pm - View on Twitter