The Good old days

Recently we have heard some politicians promise to take us back to the ‘good old days’ in order to make their countries ‘great’ again.  And yet when their voters were asked when exactly the good old days were, they could not could come up with a period where, under scrutiny, was not as good as it is today.

In business too, it is vitally important not to be nostalgic. Good periods in the past, always had their downsides and to be honest, are often not relevant to the current situation. I do believe, however, that there is a great deal we can learn from history, especially on the impacts of technological change. But history only best serves as an indicator of the direction in which we should not be heading, rather than the one we should take.

The secret to making any significant improvement in business or society is to invent new visions that do not fix a problem as such but rather create new environments where the old way is no longer even relevant. For example, at a certain time, you need to forget about making chemical based camera film better and invent a totally new approach to capturing images, such as with the invention of the digital camera.

We can take this argument further by creating a parallel with the creation of new laws. Laws are nearly always created as a reactionary process. i.e. when something we don’t like happens we try to legislate to prevent it from happening again. However, the real challenge is not to try and stop the bad things from happening but to create an environment where they are no longer relevant.  For example, when people and goods were transported by horses there was a great deal of cruelty to horses.  And even if politicians saw a benefit for themselves to pass laws to try and reduce the level of cruelty, the only real solution was to invent a world where horses were no longer needed for commercial reasons.

It’s a bit like the challenge facing our borders. Ultimately you have two options, to try and invent better and more efficient ways to defend them, or to find a way to dispense with borders altogether. After all, it’s not that radical a concept. Our European forefathers found a way to break down the borders and tax barriers that surrounded their cities in order to stimulate free movement and trade.  I appreciate that, for now, someone might still see a benefit in checking my passport at the border, but I am yet to still to be convinced that there is any real benefit in doing so.

Today, I am constantly on the lookout for people that are prepared to think a long way outside the box. People who can visualize, philosophize and invent new business solutions based upon new concepts, rather than outdated paradigms. Solutions that look into the future and offer the potential of something significantly better than what we have today.

Have a good week,


2016-11-17T08:23:31+00:001 Comment

About the Author:

Harley is a dynamic 'we can do this' kind of person with a successful track record of working for a wide variety of companies in all kinds of sectors. From very small family run businesses right through to giant multi-nationals. Over the last thirty five years Harley has built a reputation for inspiring those around him to rout out and tackle the core problems facing their organizations. Armed with a wide range of pragmatic tools that he has developed over the years, Harley is able to help his clients bring about long-term, sustainable solutions, while having fun at the same time. Harley is a motivational 'people person' who is nonetheless tough on efficiency and delivery. Apart from being well known for his highly entertaining and motivational speeches, Harley is also a blogger and author of four books; 'The Change Manager's Handbook', 'Transition', 'Inspirational Leadership’ and ‘Making a Difference’.

One Comment

  1. William Watté August 3, 2016 at 11:56 am - Reply

    Could this be such an example of “out-of-the-box”? 😉

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