Status Quo Sucks–DeMarco Banter

By J. William DeMarco

Status quo or in Latin statu quo is literally…”the state in which.”

Several years ago I attended commander’s conference hosted by a Major General. The General was quick to make the point that there are three kinds of commanders:

1) Those that make the organization better

2) Those that make the organization worse

3) Those that try to keep the organization the same….the status quo–that are really not maintaining anything…they are making the organization worse whether they acknowledge it or not.

The General was one of those rare leaders…. a leader’s leader, I would imagine his point is leaders see what is, but at the same time have a vision for what could be. They are never content with the way things are. He went on to ask a question that I still ponder today…As a status quo squadron….”Why would anyone want to be a member of your unit?”

A flagrant dislike for the status quo does not imply being negative…it is all about a willingness to be different and to accept risk. If a leaders refuses to risk change–by default he is refusing to grow. John Maxwell points out–a leader who loves the status quo soon becomes a follower.

Leaders–risk takers–are in short supply….and the ones with vision are MONEY!

I understand risk seems dangerous to some people–they are more comfortable with the old problems versus what it takes to come up with new solutions. The issue is attitude and the good General understood that–he was seeking leaders who seek solutions not ones that accept things as they are.

BONUS DATA: Since it is all about the military… it is interesting to note: The original phrase status quo from 14th-century diplomatic Latin was in statu quo res erant ante bellum, meaning “in the state in which things were before the war”. This gave rise to the shorter form status quo ante bellum “the state in which (it was) before war” (indicating the withdrawal of enemy troops and restoration of power to prewar leadership), as well as other variations such as status quo itself.

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