EconomyWhat holds the individual or company hostage to the...

What holds the individual or company hostage to the comfort zone?

(Expansion) – Innovation bursts into organizations like viruses and bacteria do in the human body and, as in the body, there is a reaction to the irruption of something external.

When we are faced with a microorganism, the immune system responds in two ways: the so-called innate immunity, which is the first to act and eliminate the aggressor, and the adaptive response, which produces antibodies and leaves memory, that is, it remembers what it has worked and acts so that the same threat does not harm us again.

As in the human body, business organizations also have an immune system that is an important variable for which change and new ideas (even good ones) fail in organizations. When innovation tries to enter a company, the organizational immune system recognizes it and reacts.

The organizational immune system also has an innate and an adaptive response. The innate response stops everything that seems to go against the rules; without analyzing if it is good or bad, or if it can benefit the organization, it goes against the rules and therefore it is not allowed in the organization!

Organizational adaptive immunity is more complex and complicated. It is an immune system that remembers the pains of the past and what it took to get to the current status quo, and will go to great lengths to keep outside influences at bay and protect the priority activities of the organization, the very ones that have made it what it is. what is today

When a new idea challenges these activities or impacts the power of those who control them, the immune response kicks in: The most subtle resistance to change begins, manifested in expressions such as: “This will never work here because…”; “You want to introduce this new XXX, but that competes with our successful YYY, that is nonsense”; “We’re good at YYY, why do XXX?” or “Over my dead body”.

Three decades ago there were eight major music recording studios in the world that dominated the industry. Digital technology arrived and these studies ignored the digital revolution and the impact it was generating among consumers. The collective’s immune system attacked her, convinced that they could end this perceived threat by winning court battles or simply dismissing it as a fad that wouldn’t work.

What they didn’t realize is that you couldn’t beat this digital model. It was just a matter of when and how, and as their immune system struggled to ‘protect’ them from this perceived ‘invader’, the market environment inevitably continued to transform.

Because they didn’t evolve with the changing environment, these eight studios eventually disappeared and the music industry, as everyone knew it, self-destructed. In its place was a new transformed music industry that has now reached cell phones and smart speakers. This new industry collects large volumes of income from record sales.

Organizational immunity is directly related to the comfort zone; they are limits that we build over time because they make us feel comfortable and safe and determine the individual’s ability and willingness to adapt to change and face uncertainty. The problem is that this can prevent you from unleashing your full potential, both personally and organizationally. Going beyond the known requires great self-awareness and courage.

What is it that can hold the individual or company hostage to the comfort zone? Scholars have found at least three obstacles that prevent leaving the famous comfort zone. The first is fear; not leave what is known and start making excuses, reasons and justifications to play it safe and not take a step forward, even if it means not giving the best we have.

The second obstacle is instincts. Have you ever felt your heart rate increase when you’re under stress, or felt your hands get cold or clammy or your face turn red? All this is the way in which our instincts warn us that we are about to leave the comfort zone.

The third is emotions. We can get angry, withdrawn, scared, or sad at the thought that we might step out of our comfort zone, and so we respond with excuses and reasons why we can’t, don’t want to, or shouldn’t do something if it’s outside of our comfort zone.

In the face of fear, it is best to stay focused on what you want, in the long term, and why it is important. The same thing happens in companies; it is important to recognize when an organization is being pushed out of its comfort zone so that its leadership aligns with a clearly structured purpose in order to focus and make the required changes.

Therefore, the important thing is not to allow the comfort zone to prevent you from developing your full potential, both personal and organizational.

Editor’s note: Pedro López Sela is Team Principal of ExO Builder, the most diverse global ecosystem of technological entrepreneurship in the world. He has co-founded 10+ companies and trained 5,000+ people in almost all sectors in Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. He is a globally recognized innovation, business, and entrepreneurship author. As an international speaker, he has shared stages with Peter Diamandis, Bob Dorf, Salim Ismail, Jeff Hoffman, to name a few. Follow him on and on . The opinions in this column belong exclusively to the author.

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