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Don't go down with the ship

When will those in finance stop accepting the status quo? David Parmenter urges everyone to raise questions and push boundaries and abandon the broken processes and systems to make way for the new.

Management guru Peter Drucker could, by some, be considered the Leonardo da Vinci of management – I believe he will be better understood and respected 400 years after his life than now. He frequently said that abandonment is the key to innovation – I consider these pieces of advice to be one of his most important: “Don’t tell me what you’re doing, tell me what you’ve stopped doing.”

He also passed on some meaningful advice: 

  • “If leaders are unable to abandon yesterday, they simply will not be able to create tomorrow.”
  • “Without systematic and purposeful abandonment, an organisation will be overtaken by events. It will squander its best resources on things it should never have been doing or should no longer do. As a result, it will lack the resources needed to exploit the opportunities that arise.”

From a young age we carry a fear of admitting to be wrong. It affects our personal life, in some cases delaying moving house or staying in dead-end jobs or relationships for too long. We do this partly because we’re scared to admit to the world that we have made a mistake. The longer we stick with something in the hope that it will right itself, the harder it becomes to abandon. We hope to improve matters so that we can then say, “I told you so” to our family and colleagues.

This is an extract from the Finance & Management Magazine, Issue 246, September 2016.

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