Never utter these seven powerful words: That's the way we've always done it.
Inertia is a powerful force--and Jen Carlson fights against it every day. "I'm always wanting to look through that lens of 'break it and rebuild it,'" says Carlson, CEO of Seattle-based nonprofit Apprenti, which works to increase diversity in tech. If you can't go back to square one, she says, you should strip away as much as possible and look for opportunities to re-engineer.
On Tuesday, Carlson joined me on the latest episode of Inc.'s Book Smart podcast, where we explore the books beloved by prominent entrepreneurs, founders, and notable figures across the spectrum of industry. Nearly two decades ago, Carlson was a first-time co-founder, pondering a move from her sports marketing firm to a job in the insurance industry, when she picked up a copy of Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life, by author and physician Spencer Johnson.
At first, Carlson thought the lightweight text--a 94-page parable about two mice and two humans searching for cheese in a maze--would help her grapple with the industry shift. Now, she says, Johnson's core message should resonate with every entrepreneur: Strategies that worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. The cheese, as Johnson notes, always runs out eventually--and you can either bemoan its disappearance or start searching for a new cheese source. "To stay viable, you have to keep developing new ways to keep moving forward and meet the market," Carlson says.