Looking out my office window, destruction (or construction as Oklahoma City would like to call it) is all that can be seen. The street has been ripped down to dust in an effort to widen the road and relieve the heavy traffic on one of downtown OKC’s busiest streets.
I’ve always found it interesting that in order to make something better, you almost always have to break down and destroy the original. We see it everyday, things being destroyed in order to improve them. Lawnmowers have to be disassembled just to replace one tiny broken valve. When you lift weights, your muscles are being torn apart so your body can build them back bigger and stronger than before. Some times people even have to be broken down to find out that they need improvement. Addicts have to be broken down and essentially hit rock bottom in order to come to the realization that they have a problem and need help.
Kevin Kelly, the author of Out of Control, discusses this existence of destruction in the corporate world. “It’s generally much easier to kill an organization than to change it substantially. Organisms by design are not made to adapt…beyond a certain point. Beyond that point, it’s much easier to kill them off and start a new one than it is to change.” Kelly is referring to the workings of corporations, but I believe this can be stretched much further and, in this case, smaller. Sometimes products, ideas, markets and even strategies need to be crushed and rebuilt before competition sees this weakness and drags the company’s core values, and branding down with theology and tactics in need of a change. Tom Peters, in his book The Circle of Innovation, says it best, “If it ain’t broke break it (or somebody else will break it for you!)”