I’m allergic to stupid.
Forgive me if that sounds arrogant but keep reading and you will see why this is a humbling notion.
Ever since I started reading about disruption in 2013, I have started to see that those following the old methods when cutting edge opportunities are present is simply STUPID. It is bad enough when I see other people doing it but it is intolerable when I see myself as stupid. So I’ve been examining stupid in relation to smart disruption, i.e. smartphones and other cutting-edge technology, cultural transformations, and new industries. As I started looking at my own life and at the world around me, I started to see a lot of STUPID leadership and followership.
NOTE: Stupid doesn’t need to be permanent. There is an antidote and it is called disruption. Also, stupid is a condition, not a personality. So when I use the sign that “Hell is stupid people” I’m referring to the condition that we all too often create when we become content following, obeying and complying.
What do I mean? Dicitonary.com defines stupid as:
- lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull.
- characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless: a stupid question.
- tediously dull, especially due to lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless: a stupid party.
- annoying or irritating; troublesome: Turn off that stupid radio.
- in a state of stupor; stupefied: stupid from fatigue.
Let’s take a look.
I’m frustrated by those that follow the same old way that they have learned so long ago. Really? What happens to us when we refuse to learn and grow, develop by pushing higher to a new level. Sure it is easy to follow and settle into a routine. But what is that doing to us?
- As a leader, what policies and procedure are making your team dull?
- As a team member, how are you allowing yourself to become dull?
Dull is the opposite of sharp. To stay sharp, we have to keep pushing ourselves to the next level, looking for ways to disrupt ourselves and those around us.
The result of dullness is a senseless question that defies logic and common understanding. How do you respond when someone asks you something that they should have known? How do others respond to you when you ask something so foolish? Granted, there is no reason to be rude but notice the effect? The energy in the room collapses when someone asks a stupid question where the answer is obvious to everyone else. (This usually happens because that person wasn’t paying attention.)
- As a leader, what senseless things are you asking team members to do?
- As a team member, what senseless things are you expecting from your leader?
Now imagine what happens when someone asks a very intelligent question about something new and exciting. Notice the energy level rise.
Remember a time when you had to do a job that required no mental ability. We have all had them. It might be stuffing envelopes, adding simple numbers or stacking boxes. Over and over and over. We did the same thing. Notice how easily you got tired of that? Our jobs become tedious and stupid when we don’t have a challenge or don’t see a way to move up. But don’t wait for someone to challenge you. Challenge yourself.
- As a leader, in what ways are you removing the mental ability from the workplace?
- As a team member, in what ways are you avoiding mental challenges?
How can you add more creativity, and challenge to disrupt your tedious world or prevent your world from becoming stupid?
What repetitive sounds drive you to take drastic action? Is it a song that plays over and over and over and over? Or is it a squeaky wheel that goes around and around and around and around? It might be the precious little voice of a two-year-old that just learned how to ask “Why?” to everything you say. After about the 3rd why, we start to find that irritating, even though we love them tremendously. The same thing happens when we stick with the old pattern. It becomes irritating without a little diversity. Disrupt what is irritating and then be proactive and disrupt before things get irritating.
- As a leader, what complaints are becoming irritating? How can you introduce novelty to break the irritation?
- As a follower, what are you finding irritating about your workplace?
What are you starting to find irritating that needs an infusion of innovation? Disrupt it now before you want to disengage completely.
Stupid from Fatigue
Are you tired? Or are you sick and tired? If not, at what point in the repetition will you become so tired you find everything stupid? People burn out in their jobs because they haven’t found a way to rejuvenate themselves. While routine is nice, it doesn’t take much to make us so tired that we make a stupid decision. At that point, someone is disrupting us. Be smart, track the trends and forecast opportunities to keep yourself fresh and strong.
- As a leader, what are you doing to keep the culture and workforce reinvigorated?
- As a team member, how can you rejuvenate yourself?
Regain your energy. Look for creative ways to do what you never thought possible.
Let’s find the cure for stupid by being disruptive.
Loren Murfield, Ph.D.
Those that have taken the Disruptive Leader Challenge are challenged with the dominant trends that hold the power to disrupt their businesses or provide the opportunity they need to be the disruptive leader. Every individual has walked away with at least one and up to three ideas they can implement fairly quickly that will radically increase their performance, production and profits. Take the challenge to find your opportunity to do what others think is impossible.