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This week’s focus: I must be at a certain age. I can no longer raise either shoulder above head height without feeling real pain. Despite physiotherapy, injections and even an operation on one shoulder, the pain remains. It seems that, over time, the bone has ossified and that is impinging muscle movement. As one consultant kindly put it, “Stuart, it’s a sign of growing up!

The situation has become worse over the past 12 months, but I’ve noticed that I’ve started to work around the pain. I no longer reach above my head, I place things in my car so I don’t have to reach too far, and I get others to do jobs that require significant stretching. I’ve worked around the problem and adapted my behaviour, rather than sorting it out.

Organisations have their own equivalent shoulder problems that they try to work around. One client, for example, has a sizeable fixing team at the end of the production line because there are so many quality problems during the manufacturing process. Another relied exclusively on its suppliers’ consumer insights to drive the development of its customer proposition, as it didn’t have its own insight capability. An issue creates adaptive behaviours that, over time, become “Because we’ve always done it that way.

I had an MRI scan on the shoulders earlier this week, and it looks like I’ll be having surgery to fix the problem. What weaknesses are you currently working around – and creating in-built extra cost, time and delay – when you could be fixing them head on?

Off The Record: Broad-Shouldered Beasts by Mumford & Sons

Broad-shouldered beasts fill the sky

Manhattan beats at the night

But you are wrapped up in wire

Curled up in fright

I’m a bit of a latecomer to the charms of Mumford & Sons, but this is a song that is both atmospheric and builds brilliantly.

© Stuart Cross 2015. All rights reserved.