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Your Organizational Comfort Zone

May 1st, 2014


Every one of us has preferences. There are activities we enjoy doing, and ones we do not.  Some activities are comfortable for us. Others are not.

Within any particular job or role, there are aspects that energize us, and aspects that don’t.  Some activities, like public speaking or cold calling, may even scare us. 

And we are all different. Just because a particular activity lives inside my Comfort Zone, does not mean that it lives inside yours.

As business owners, most of us would prefer to work ON, versus IN, our businesses. 

Most owners understand that they should spend significant time in areas like strategy, planning, identifying new opportunities, innovating, and leadership, yet find themselves getting pulled into crisis management, fire-fighting, financial details, and legal matters. While many owners enjoy working on their business, other owners actually have a preference for the more tactical parts of their business, like baking a cake or developing software.

Organizations have a Comfort Zone. Some companies attempt to hire employees with a diverse range of Comfort Zones in order to cover the varied aspects of their business. Others have a culture that attracts courageous employees and continually inspires them to leave their personal Comfort Zones.   Some owners don’t give much thought to their organizational Comfort Zone. This can be a very costly mistake. 

Independent of industry or size, every great company is effective in executing the key activities critical to their success of their business, whether these activities lie inside their Comfort Zone or not. 

Many individuals hate to leave their Comfort Zone. Highly successful people know that the majority of growth and performance happens outside of their Zone.

As business owners, we would like to think that our employees will do their jobs effectively and efficiently. We want to believe that our people will prioritize their time and activities in order of importance, with an eye on accomplishing the key results they are being paid to accomplish. While we want our employees to love their jobs, we would also like them to consistently grow and leave their comfort zones whenever necessary in order to do the things that they should do, versus staying inside their happy-place doing the things that feel most comfortable. When your entire team is working on activities that they should do, your company will produce great results.  Alternatively, if your employees choose to do the things they could do or want to do in lieu of the things they should do, results will suffer, sometimes badly.

  • How big is the Comfort Zone inside your company?
  • Do you have a strategy to continually expand it?
  • What percentage of time do your employees spend working on things they should do, versus working on things they could do or want to do?
  • When hiring, do you evaluate a potential employee’s willingness to leave his or her Zone?
  • Does your company culture incentivize and reward Courage (or Comfort)?

Remember, the magic happens outside of your Comfort Zone. I hope you leave it often.

Enjoy the journey!

Copyright ©   Joe Zente  2013.   All Rights Reserved.

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