Are You In Limbo Or Pole Vaulting?

Is your organization Raising the Bar or crawling under the Bar of past successes. Some teams live by the records of others or the records of their history. Great organizations pole-vault over the bar of their past successes and continue raising the Bar along with their goals. It is these Pole – Vaulting teams which set the pace of what their followers will one day benchmark. Industries that are going through disruption must stop benchmarking the past doing so is the game of Limbo. A game where the bar is continuously lowered, and sooner or later the Limbo player falls. Industries in disruption need to run from the improvement based benchmarking of the past, and Pole – Vault themselves to reinvention. When an industry is heading to obsolesce, the future is not about improving based on the past it’s about reinvention to live in the future.

With today’s technology advances and the innovative disruption they cause. Organizations should be cautious when benchmarking past successes as they journey toward their future. Those organizations’ who understand the past was just the starting point, will always, jump over those who believe benchmarking what was will put them on the track to what could be. During Innovation and market disruptions it’s not about what should be, it’s about what could be.

Too many organizations get focused on benchmarking others, instead of creating what others will benchmark. During times of market shifts or when industries find themselves in a fight for continued relevance. Benchmarking is always about yesterday, and yesterday has no relevance during a market disruption. As industry innovators change the means to the customers’ desired outcome. Those who live and operate in a world of the past will find themselves fighting for survival. It seems too many industries and organizations are fighting for survival instead of fighting for relevance.

Innovative companies understand continuous improvement never lowers the bar, continuous improvement never allows yesterday the power over today or tomorrow, and continuous improvement has never come from teams who lower the bar.

Teams of continuous improvement are Pole – Vaulters

If your industry is in decline and you believe the best practices of the past will help you reach a prosperous future, you are playing Limbo. If your industry is in decline and you find it easier to deny this fact then fight for future relevance you are playing Limbo. If you are buying your competitors in a declining market without a deliverable transformation plan, you are playing Limbo. If you are more comfortable attending reunions and cheering the past rather than collaborating with those who welcome the future you are playing Limbo.

No one has the crystal ball. However, most have common sense, and most can see the writing on the wall during a product, or industries path to obsolescence. Here’s the advantage for the Pole Vaulter. Those benchmarking the past will be playing a game of Limbo where they will eventually fall and be crushed under the weight of the Bar of Status Quo. So now go jump over them.


Ray Stasieczko
Ray Stasieczko
THROUGH my creativity and passion for innovation, I help organizations navigate through needed changes. Over the past thirty years, I have had successes and faced challenges. The challenges organizations face today, I not only recognize them, I’ve experienced and navigated them firsthand. Delivering services to all marketplaces continues transforming. Competition is coming from places no one would have imagined. My innovative thinking benefits organizations who recognize change is needed, and more importantly, recognize the value of creativity fueled by experiences. The future of the business to business or business to consumers marketplace will require unique collaboration. I understand the importance of collaboration and have the imagination to bring uniqueness in delivering it. I believe successful innovation and transformation only happens “When an organizations focus is on bringing the future to the present, instead of bringing the past to the future.”

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  1. See that pole – don’t dancer under it – pick it up and use it – i like the visual and provides a great analogy.

    … but i think there’s more – pole vaulting has an associated implication that is described in the article of ‘leaping ahead’ – accelerating past …. but the fact is it is possible to keep ahead and change and move without ‘disruptive revolution’ …. everybody talks about that – and so many fail trying it – but still there is success.

    I would argue that they have taken that pole and are using it to navigate their punt through the water and marshes of modern day business. We used to do that and then the industrialisation of business resulted in bigger and bigger boats travelling through wide rivers and purpose-built canals – but we lost sight of why we on those journeys, we forgot to maintain the waterways – and as the boats got bigger – to the point that there are few waterways left from them to travel through, so we the people that those boats were meant to be serving got forgotten.

    Enter once again the small boats, agile boats, nimble boats and bit my bit those boats are beating the liners (not at their own game – but by redefining the game – by going back to the roots of the journey) … and as those boats compete with each other – it isn’t a question of dropping an outboard motor on your boat – it might not be suitable – but taking that pole to help you punt through areas that otherwise can’t be reached – push through swampy and wet lands – navigate narrow streams that oars cannot take you down – that pole will help you – and you will win.

    Or something like that … might turn this into a more extended post.

  2. Great Post Ray. I agree 100%. Checkout my article Dynamic change. I think we should always be growing and improving. It is dad when our goal is to beat last years metrics or benchmarks when we should be focused on Dynamic change Thank you, Spot on.

  3. Two thumbs up Ray, for this great information! As a major advocate for continuous process improvement, you really hit the nail on the head with this one. In further support, innovation requires disruption. Many people aren’t comfortable with that idea – hence why this information is critically important~