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Breaking away from unproductive and smudgy tradition is risky..but it pays

Businesses most likely to attract and hold innovative thinkers are those which encourage a degree of rule breaking, not rigid rule following…. Gerald Jackson

Professor McFadden of Britain's royal veterinary back in 19th century told his students that the spores of a fungus similar to common bread mold had once contaminated one of his bacteria cultures, an effect decidedly inimical to the bacteria. If this happens to you, the savant told his pupils, “the only thing to do now is throw the culture away.'’

In 1928, the same thing happened to Alexander Fleming. But he didn't throw the culture away. Eventually, the active ingredient of that contaminating mold was isolated. And this gave birth to the eventual discovery of penicillin and the revolutionary change in medical treatment of deadly infectious sickness all over the world.

Organisations stand between the choice of doing things the old way or welcoming bold and audacious innovation that could so transform their operations. Encouraging your employees to.look at work in same way and doing the same thing over and over in same way, even when reality dictates the need for revision, is a decision which encourages your competitors to speed past you and leave you behind. On the other hand, organisations that actively promote and encourage innovation will not forever remains with the crowd in the market. It will sooner found itself as a leader in the sector if it can match boldness, innovation and prudency and deliver results.

Businesses most likely to attract and hold innovative thinkers, said Gerald Jackson, are those which encourage a degree of rule breaking, not rigid rule following. They are businesses that entrusted their operations in hands of capable people who are not afraid to question the status quo; and if possible break the barriers that tie them to mediocrity.

In this, therefore, the organizations have the option to encourage the professor McFaddens or Alexander Flemings... The result in both cases would be substantial. It is a choice between following accepted procedures without questioning even when the market and exigencies manifest  the need for scrutiny,  and pausing to examine the tradition then look at ways of doing things better, even if no one has done it before. Fortune favours the innovators. It is only the traditionalists that complain about competition or stagnated business climate. The innovators have learn to swim with sharks and turn things around when others have given to despair and mediocrity. Breaking away from unproductive traditions is risky, probably Herculean, but it pays, if you get it right.

So, are you a Mcfadden or Fleming? is your company properly positioned for unseen opportunities or just swimming with the sharks and managing to tag along?  You can still reexamine your individual and corporate ideal.

...Isqil Najim

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