Innovative and Disruptive:  Breaking Inertia – Outperforming Your Constraints

Jan 26, 2021 | DTJ Online, Fall Meeting 2020 Videos, Human Resources, Leadership

By Sharon Lo Managing Editor, Defense Transportation Journal and The Source

The NDTA-USTRANSCOM Fall Meeting took place virtually October 5-8, 2020. The event brought together more than 1,500 attendees from the government, military, and industry to learn and collaborate. The theme for the meeting was Innovative and Disruptive…2020 Vision for the Future.

That theme fit perfectly with a keynote speech by Rami Goldratt, CEO, Goldratt Group. He spoke about breaking inertia, which can drive innovation by changing how people within an organization act. Inertia, in this instance, is the force drive that brings you to continue and behave in the same way, even when there is a need to change.

Many organizations recognize the need to change during a crisis—such as the COVID-19 pandemic—but fail to realize that breaking inertia when a company is doing well can lead to breakthroughs in performance. Breaking inertia is one of the prime responsibilities of a leader because they are the ones who set the rules that others in the organization follow.

“Breaking inertia is important, and it’s obvious when the organization is under some crisis, explained Goldratt. “But breaking inertia is important even when the organization is doing very well because maybe we’re doing very well, but we can do much better if we change something. And, maybe we’re doing very well, but around the corners, there are threats that if we’re not changing something fundamental when the time comes and we face these threats, it may be too late. So, breaking inertia is the leader’s responsibility throughout, and it doesn’t really matter what is the current performance of the organization.”

To break inertia without waiting for a crisis, Goldratt recommends organizations set a high objective that seems impossible to achieve given current constraints, identify the conflict you must break with innovation to achieve the objective, and then take it as your responsibility as a leader to challenge inertia.

“Don’t wait for a crisis, take it as your responsibility as a leader—it’s your responsibility, every one of us is a leader for a certain sub-system or the whole system—take it as your responsibility as a leader to break inertia, to challenge inertia. Don’t wait for the crisis. I think in today’s world, this is very relevant.”

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