A new mantra for today’s business world: If it ain’t broke, break it and make it better

Posted On October 23, 2023

Some of the best advice you can give or take in business is simply to begin. Joe Calloway, a Nashville-based business consultant and author, had the word printed on a coffee mug to remind himself of it every day.

“I’ve tried a lot of things, but I’m also really good at overthinking,” he said. “But I’m very aware of that and so I work really hard at beginning and moving on with things.”

Calloway, our guest in a recent episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston,” acknowledges that beginning is often easier said than done. Fear often gets in the way – fear of failure or making mistakes – and that can often lead to paralysis. And then the opportunity passes you by.

But making mistakes is often how we learn and how we figure out what works. Embracing the fear of those mistakes, Calloway says, is a culture issue. And part of being a forward-thinking leader is creating a culture that embraces fear, embraces change, and is constantly looking for how to do things better.

“If you’re successful, that means you know what used to work,” he said. “There’s all sorts of things that can disrupt us. We’d better disrupt ourselves first. Leaders have to be willing to look at: What’s the next iteration of this organization, of this company?”

He acknowledges that, too, is easier said than done. Human nature is to leave well enough alone – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as the old saying goes.

But technology and innovation move fast. If it ain’t broke now, it soon will be. “One of the biggest threats to your business is for you to become irrelevant,” Calloway said. “If you become irrelevant, it’s over. Relevance is a moving target.”

And therefore, he recommended an update for that old saying, to better fit modern times and the modern business world: “If it ain’t broke, break it and make it better.”

Categories: Blog, Entrepreneurship, What's Working with Cam Marston