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If It’s Fixed, Break It: The Importance of Overcoming Industry Fixedness

In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving business landscape, staying open to new ideas and embracing change is crucial for long-term success. While institutional knowledge holds value, the mindset of fixedness can hinder growth and innovation. This article explores the concept of fixedness, its implications in business, and the importance of breaking free from established norms to gain a competitive edge.

Breaking the Shackles of Fixedness:

Human beings are creatures of habit, often finding comfort in routines and familiar ways of thinking. However, there comes a point when the status quo becomes a hindrance rather than an advantage. This mental state is known as fixedness. To truly innovate and drive progress, breaking free from fixedness should be a top priority.

Industry and Organizational Fixedness:

Fixedness not only affects individuals but can also permeate entire industries and organizations. As professionals spend years working within a particular company or field, they become accustomed to established perspectives and workflows. Phrases like “We’ve always done it this way” or “We don’t do that” are red flags indicating fixedness.

Specialization and Fixedness:

Deep expertise in a specialized area can lead to discomfort when confronted with questions outside one’s field. This narrow focus restricts flexibility and hampers collaboration. The conundrum lies in balancing institutional knowledge with openness to new ideas, as excessive fixedness puts companies at a competitive disadvantage.

Adopting a New Mindset:

To overcome fixedness, organizations must cultivate an environment that encourages open communication and idea sharing. Employees possess valuable insights that can challenge established norms and lead to better practices. Embracing failure as a learning opportunity and appreciating employees’ courage to explore new avenues are vital for breaking fixedness.

Harnessing the Power of Fresh Perspectives:

New hires, especially those from competing organizations, bring alternative tools and methods that may be unfamiliar to the existing team. By embracing diverse perspectives, companies can foster healthy debate and expand their range of options. The combination of institutional, insider, and outsider knowledge leads to stronger, innovative solutions.

A Journey of Continuous Transformation:

One common misconception is that breaking fixedness requires a drastic overhaul of the entire business model. However, true transformation is an ongoing journey. Companies must recognize and leverage their existing strengths while incorporating fresh ideas. Blockbuster’s failure to adapt to the streaming industry serves as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the need to build upon existing strengths.

Constant Vigilance against Fixedness:

Similar to plaque on teeth, fixedness requires continuous conscious effort to remove. As new ideas and new team members join the organization, they provide opportunities for reassessment and growth. Embracing this iterative process ensures that fixedness does not impede progress.

Serving Better and Growing Faster:

While institutional knowledge is valuable, it should not become a barrier to innovation. By breaking fixedness and embracing diverse ideas, organizations can better serve both employees and customers. This approach fosters business growth and allows for the delivery of superior products and services.


Overcoming industry fixedness is paramount in today’s rapidly changing business landscape. By challenging established norms, embracing new ideas, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, companies can gain a competitive edge. Breaking fixedness opens the door to endless possibilities, propelling organizations towards success and better serving their stakeholders. Embrace change, break the mold, and thrive in an ever-evolving world


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