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The Myth of Disruption: How Blindly Breaking Things Can Hold You Back

As a business owner or leader, you may have heard the phrase “move fast and break things” thrown around as a way to encourage rapid innovation and progress. However, this approach can sometimes lead to a dangerous cycle of repeatedly breaking systems and people without achieving any real progress.

One example of this is seen in the tech industry, where companies such as Facebook and Google have been known to prioritize speed over careful consideration of the consequences of their actions. Facebook famously used the “move fast and break things” mantra in its early days, but this approach ultimately led to several high-profile scandals involving data privacy and misinformation.

When something is not working, it’s natural to want to fix it as quickly as possible. However, moving fast without taking the time to fully understand the issue can lead to hasty decisions and ultimately, more broken systems and people. Instead of repeatedly breaking things, it’s important to focus on finding solutions that actually work and produce the desired results.

In some industries, moving fast may not be possible or even advisable. For example, industries such as healthcare or finance require careful thought and consideration before any major changes are made. In these cases, parallel process development can be a key strategy to test out new ideas and solutions on a small scale before implementing them on a larger scale.

Parallel process development involves developing multiple solutions or processes simultaneously and testing them in parallel to determine which one works best. This approach can take longer than simply “moving fast,” but it can also be more effective in the long run by allowing for more thorough testing and evaluation of potential solutions.

It’s important to take chances and try new things in order to achieve the results you want, but it’s equally important to do so in a thoughtful and intentional way. Blindly breaking things without understanding the underlying issues is a recipe for disaster. Instead, take the time to fully understand the problem and develop solutions that are grounded in data and research.

In addition to focusing on broken systems, it’s also important to pay attention to the people involved. Repeatedly breaking people can have serious consequences for their morale and motivation, leading to a toxic work environment and ultimately, poor results. Instead, focus on empowering employees and providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed.

One example of this is seen in the retail industry, where companies such as Costco and Trader Joe’s have built their success on treating their employees well and providing them with fair wages and benefits. This has led to high levels of employee loyalty and productivity, which in turn has translated into strong financial performance.

In some cases, the system you weren’t happy with may have been the best one for producing results. This can be a difficult pill to swallow, but it’s important to be open to the possibility that your assumptions may not always be correct. Instead of blindly pushing for change, take the time to evaluate the system and determine whether or not it truly needs to be changed.

For example, in the healthcare industry, there may be a reluctance to adopt new technologies or processes due to concerns about patient safety. In these cases, it’s important to carefully evaluate the potential risks and benefits of any proposed changes before implementing them.

While “move fast and break things” can be an effective strategy for innovation and progress, it’s important to do so in a thoughtful and intentional way. Focusing on broken systems and people without fully understanding the underlying issues can lead to a dangerous cycle of repeated failure. Instead, take the time to evaluate the problem and develop solutions that are grounded in data and research. By doing so, you can create a culture of continuous improvement and innovation that produces real results.