Leadership: And The Myth Of The Twinkie

The shelf life of our ideas, skills, frameworks, and systems now deteriorate at a much faster and more advanced rate…

Change and innovation has become the new fast and furious of our modern world.  The cycle of these two forces can feel as if they are spinning recklessly near the brink of being out of control…or even for the sake of, rather than serving a needed and necessary purpose (often the result of empathy being void of the process and intended outcome).

So, instead of here today, gone tomorrow…it has become a little more like here today, gone today…

And technology has ramped this process up considerably, with no foreseeable slowing.  Rather we probably see the pace increasing…exponentially.

This constant fluctuation and incessant rate of change and innovation is levying an intense strain upon leadership…placing a great deal of anxiety and stress upon our modern day leaders.  Many of which who do not feel ready or equipped for what is coming at them…daily.

Which has not been the normal operating system of the past…it is only in recent years that we have seen such tremendous upheaval in the change cycle…

For most of us, we grew up in a time where many of our organizations were built as and into huge titanics…titanics we believed would never sink (which modern times have proved to be otherwise).  So, there was no need, no reason to be agile…equipped to pivot.  But times have definitely changed…

For the past was a time when our organizational titanics operated under the “myth of the Twinkie“.

A “myth” that all of us have heard at one time or another.  The “myth” that Twinkies have a shelf-life of forever.  That Twinkies would still be good if they were opened 20, even 50 years from now.

And while many of us bought into the “myth of the Twinkie“, a “myth” still it was…

According to Wikipedia

“A common urban legend claims that Twinkies have an infinite shelf life or can last unspoiled for a relatively long time of ten, fifty, or one hundred years due to the chemicals used in their production.  This urban legend is false, although Twinkies can last a relatively long time (25 days or more).  In reality, Twinkies are on the shelf for a short time; a company executive told the New York Times in 2000 that the ‘Twinkie is on the shelf no more than 7 to 10 days.”

And unfortunately, the above quote is very representative of many of our modern day organizations.  We still buy into the “myth of the Twinkie“.  We still believe that those ideas, skills, frameworks, and systems that were developed 5, 10, 20, 50 years ago still have the same shelf-life as when they were first developed.

And we treat them as such…

The problem is, when we buy into the “myth of the Twinkie“…what should have only been on the shelf for 7 to 10 days, remains long after its freshness and usefulness have expired.  Because we still buy into the “myth“…

And very often, it is these “myths” that hang as an albatross upon the necks of our organizational titanics…slowing and dragging them down.

As leaders, we will have to begin to take a deep and reflective look at uncovering those “myths” that exist and remain in our organizations…

We will need to begin to check our shelves for those ideas, skills, structures, and frameworks that have long since expired.

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