Productive Monotony

Profiting from Same-Old, Same-Old

I like gravity. It’s consistent and predictable. If I drop my pen or my keys, I know exactly where to look for them. When I leave a book on the nightstand, I know it won’t float away the next day.

In business, we tend to show little respect for this kind of consistency. We’re looking for the new and improved, the next big thing. Even if we repeat the mantra, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” we have a destructive tendency to fiddle with the wheels that are already greased quite well.

Instead, we’ll benefit more consistently from sticking to our knitting and finding ways to replicate our success. People who find themselves drawn to a product revamp should spend a few minutes repeating a different mantra: “New Coke, New Coke, New Coke.”

I was talking with a friend recently about some new ventures he was considering for his business. After telling me some of the challenges he had yet to address in his existing product/service line, he became more energized about the journey of discovery that was about to unfold.

Why, I asked, was he putting more on his plate with new ventures when he hadn’t made his existing operations rock solid? Wouldn’t he be drawn in two directions, putting out fires in the core business while trying to juggle one more plate with the new products?

Perhaps, he answered, but the new opportunity is exciting and the core business is the same-old, same-old. It’s not as thrilling as it was and new horizons appeal to him like a new love.

I know how he feels about new adventures and the next mountain to be climbed. Still, it’s not too hard to make the case that he could gain just as much excitement from the profitable growth available in a focused, predictable business.