Stop Accepting Complacency, Start Being Proactive

While consistency is essential, complacency is catastrophic. Those who are complacent lose. Rather than storming ahead working to achieve greatness, complacent companies push forward just enough to be content, for the interim, until something disrupts their happiness bubble.

This is a terrible way to run a business. It creates a constant state of waiting for things to change or fall apart prior to putting forth effort to improve. In essence, you are at the mercy of external forces, instead of being in control of your own destiny. When thinking about it from this perspective, it is unattractive. No one wants their external environment to be the sole driving force of everything they do.

Bringing this down to a personal level, this is why people work hard to sacrifice short-term happiness for long-term fulfillment and do what is necessary to improve their life and the lives of those around them. Their desire for success trumps their willingness to accept where they are currently. This is the difference between people who are looking to just cover the bills versus people who are interested in building long-lasting financial freedom. Those willing to look beyond the short term and make sacrifices for the future have considerably more opportunities.

The same is the case for businesses. The willingness to put forth extra effort and refusal to remain comfortable consistently wins. Yet, too many times, companies find a process, an application, a product, or a service they like and refuse to move away from it due to the success it initially brought. Rather than looking for ways to improve, the business goes on cruise control as complacency and comfort set in. This level of contentment remains until their external environment changes and a new approach is needed.

Companies that have instilled this methodology have always struggled, but it has become even more problematic in recent years. For example, the hapless effort of Payless Shoes to establish a quality online presence, AOLs inept attempts at moving from dial-up internet to Wi-Fi, and Yahooi’s inability to successfully change from a portal to more progressive web services all highlight an unwillingness to change if not prompted. Each ended with catastrophic results.

If you wait for the world to tell you to change, you have already lost. Business simply moves too fast for you to wait. If you truly want to stay viable, you must be comfortable being uncomfortable and you must continually look for ways to improve. The products and services you created yesterday will not meet the demands of your customers tomorrow. There is nothing you can do about external forces and the way the market evolves, so you need to be obsessed with what you can control. This ownership enables you to modify your internal scope to meet the external environment you encounter head-on.

This may seem excessive, but if you do not choose to push forward, someone else will, and they will ultimately push you out. The level of competition in every industry, market, and environment creates the need for businesses to constantly transform the way they operate in every capacity, and it will not stop.

If you accept complacency over being proactive, you will die. Complacency is the enemy of success and will ultimately chip away at any competitive advantage you ever had. Stop being complacent. To win, you must be proactive.

Bringing It All Together

These seven areas of focus are not the only actions companies must emphasize, but they will provide you a better opportunity to maximize the value you deliver. The truth is, there is very little margin for error in the workplace in this day and age. The implications from every decision made are magnified due to the competitiveness within every industry and market. This means you must continually adapt and evolve to optimize results. By embracing these seven areas of focus, business operations can be streamlined, and employees will be encouraged to put forth optimal effort, ultimately generating a stronger, more agile organization that is capable of producing exceptional results.


  • 1. Prisco, Jacopo. “Why UPS Trucks (Almost) Never Turn Left.” www. (accessed April 10, 2020).
  • 2. Holtzclaw, Eric. “Power of Consistency: 5 Rules.” oltzclaw/consistency-power-success-rules.html (accessed April 10,2020).
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