We’re constantly hearing about entrepreneurs or leading companies that challenge the status quo and look for new ways to do things. This can often give them an important edge in the market, which inevitably takes the competition time to identify and address.

Challenging the status quo is easier said than done, however. It takes a certain mindset which needs to operate in two dimensions. The first dimension is that you have to be able to think outside the box, to use a battered cliche, to be able to eschew the standard assumptions and accepted situations. The second is that you need to be able to do it a lot, and ideally all the time.

I was reminded of this some months ago when helping to prepare some messaging around a certain market, which included defining that market and how that market was structured. A couple of the senior individuals were in the team and I was struck by how differently and more expansively they were able to view the market they operated in, and hence how they could position their company in a more different and more beneficial way.

They simply brushed away the assumptions about how the industry was structured, assumptions I had wrongly taken as the pillars for how things worked in the industry.

It’s obvious that the role of senior executives is to be looking over the parapet far more often than other staff who are more siloed, specialist, operational, or tactical. But, that said, it was refreshing to see people who took a professional approach to questioning everything and thinking deeply about what they could and couldn’t move.

As you can imagine, visionaries are far more able to see everything as movable. For them there is no status quo.