Muscle memory? Not good for business.

Organizations are people and people have muscle memory. The idea of doing something so many times that it becomes your second nature, like balancing a bike or skating, is applicable to businesses too. That got me thinking.

As a leader, if you have been doing all the right things, you have carefully nurtured a sort of muscle memory in your people. It is your company’s unique, consistent and on-brand way of doing things. It sets you apart and hopefully it contributes towards sustainable competitive advantages for your company.

But what if these competitive advantages are not sustainable? Ahhh…. change. That’s right.

In my last post, I talked about how true change agents can unlearn certain parts of their thought-process to successfully adapt to new business paradigms. How do you permeate that change in your people?

Muscle memory

Sooner or later,  your people will have to unlearn and change too. Unlearning muscle memory is hard. My golf instructor was happy to hear that I had never played before so there is no muscle memory to unlearn.

To crack the code of constant evolution, to be nimble and to infuse innovation in your DNA, you have to avoid letting things become a muscle memory to begin with.

The only constant in change is, change itself.  You need people who have the ability to intuitively learn and apply knowledge through the conscious part of their brain until the day that knowledge becomes obsolete and is replaced with new knowledge. It should never settle in as subconscious cognitive behavior.

The only muscle memory you need is for your brain muscles to be able to learn, apply, rationalise, unlearn and adapt. Your brain needs to be a sponge and a solid rock at the same time. Thanks to the knowledge economy and its latest much more ‘contextual’ version. We don’t have a choice.