Tuesday, January 13

Overcoming Inertia

Overcoming inertia in our personal life may take the form of New Year’s resolutions to eat better, exercise more, or break bad habits.  At the organizational level, it may involve developing a strategic plan or creating Operating Agreements about how team members will work with one another.
One reason the Nike slogan, “Just Do It,” has held so much power is that it addresses in 3 syllables a challenge we all face in one way or another—overcoming inertia.  As we all know, an object at rest tends to stay at rest.  A disorganized garage tends to remain so.  An extra 10 pounds around the middle often refuses to budge.  And a team working less than optimally is likely to continue to underperform.
We all know that the majority of New Year’s resolutions and organizational strategic plans fail—and that a major causal factor is the difficulty of overcoming inertia.  If we are going to succeed in overcoming inertia, we must envision the desired result at such a level of specificity that it seems real and attainable.  It must look and feel better than our current reality for us to break through inertia to pursue it. Holding onto that vision of our desired state must be continuous and is often more powerful when we share it with others.  Worrying about all the steps we will have to take to achieve it can reinforce the sense that it is unattainable or just too much work. We are often more successful if we just get moving—just do it!  The path will reveal itself to us once we’re in motion.

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