There’s an underground religion at work in every institution and most organisations. It’s something that pervades meeting after meeting and interaction after interaction. People everywhere are worshipping the Status Quo.
Whilst for those of a certain age this will immediately bring to mind an ageing rock band who can be seen in arenas worldwide miming their hits from a bygone era, that’s not what I’m talking about. The type of Status Quo I’m talking about is a nebulous force akin to what Steven Pressfield identifies in Do The Work as ‘The Resistance’.
The problem is that, unlike Pressfield’s quasi-religious (objective) malevolent force, Status Quo is a monster of our own creation which can, under the right conditions, spread like a virus. Status Quo is an idea. It’s a meme. And as with any successful meme it’s a shapeshifter, having a common core whilst being able to take on many different forms. The Status Quo is an unvoiced set of assumptions that allows new ideas to be dismissed by appeals to ‘common sense’ strong emotions.
Status Quo is manifested in many different ways and in many different places. In schools it might be the idea of desks in rows. In businesses it could be detailed branding regulations. In universities it’s possibly the physical location of students. However it manifests itself, the important thing to remember about Status Quo is that it’s the very thin layer, the crust, on top of a much deeper set of opinions, policies, prejudices and practice.
So if the question is ‘How do I change the Status Quo?’ you need to ask the associated questions: ‘The Status Quo according to whom?’ and ‘Why did this Status Quo take hold?’ Once you can answer these, you’re ready to do battle. You can’t win by fighting directly, only obliquely: presenting an alternate reality is the only way to win.
You replace one Status Quo with another Status Quo.