Aaron Sorkin, writer for The West Wing recently came out with a new show on HBO called The Newsroom. He has been critiqued for being too formulaic. In fact, someone even put together a video showing his various Sorkinisms – times where he uses the exact same line in a variety of his shows. Finding the right formula for success is awesome, unfortunately, sometimes we don’t realize that the underpinnings that made it successful are no longer sound.
As the world continues to change, it is difficult to know when to go back and revisit our assumptions. We don’t have something that tells us: “Hey, one of your fundamental assumptions is no longer correct, proceed with caution!”. We may find a successful path and not entirely understand why it was successful. But hey, it works, so we keep doing it.
One day, it stops working. We are stunned. We should step back and reevaluate why, but instead we keep trying it. As innovators, we strive to find the right formula to success and once we find it, we don’t want to give it up. But if the formula stops working, instead of pushing the same method again, we have to step back and revisit what has changed. This may mean not only changing the method, but may mean changing ourselves. Something that used to be a strength, may now be hindering us.
So if after years or even decades of success, we find the old path not working, we must not retrench. Instead we should adventure forth to find the new way. The world is dynamic, we must not remain static.