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  • Tara Rethore

Conquer Inertia: Reignite Strategy!

Inertia is a powerful thing. If you’re like me, the shorter days, crisp cold, cloudy skies, and wintry mix make hibernation an attractive prospect. Yet, even if we were to hibernate for a bit, that pile of work and the “to do” list would only loom larger.


The same can happen in business. We start the year with enthusiasm driven by new or renewed goals, great intentions, and a clear sense of direction. We review trends, identify new opportunities, and consider the implications for our strategy and our work. Then all too quickly, we revert to old ways of working, projects hit a roadblock, and progress stalls. Inertia sets in.


Good strategy execution requires relentless, focused pursuit of the objective.

That pace can be hard to maintain – and sometimes, ironically, that makes it harder to keep moving. Inertia takes hold.


Here are two tips to conquer inertia and get back on track to execute your strategy:


1. Inject a fresh perspective. Not all of us can escape to the slopes or warmer climes for a quick break. Instead, we must look more locally to find that breath of fresh air. Winter can be a great time to expand our thinking or invest in learning. Attend a conference. Phone a friend. Invite an expert to take a new look at your situation. Better yet, explore a topic, idea, or approach that’s always intrigued you. Recently, a client suggested pursuing a course in Zen Buddhism. While not even remotely related to their business, this course could inject a fresh perspective for many different areas of life, thus also influencing his work. While Zen Buddhism may not be your thing, the point is simply to step outside your norm to spur new thinking.


2. Turn it inside out. Last Monday, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his den and saw his shadow: six more weeks of winter. Groan. This news – amid record snowfall, crazy cold, and sloppy weather in much of the US – is rather unwelcome. But what if we consider the alternative? Phil emerges from his den and doesn’t see his shadow: 42 days until spring. Suddenly we’re doing the happy dance. Spring is on its way! Never mind that the result is exactly the same (6 weeks vs. 42 days). Turning Phil’s experience inside out fundamentally shifts our thinking – and our perspective.


Now what if we put those two steps together? For example:

  • Use a fresh perspective to turn the situation inside out; or

  • Reframe the challenge to offer a new perspective.

Either way, we prompt change. That gets us moving again. Separately, each action can provide a small impetus for new action or thinking. Combined, they start to shape direction – and more action.


And suddenly, we’ve conquered inertia.

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