Several weeks ago, a Russian passenger plane crashed, tragically killing all but one of the passengers and crew.  Thanks to the “black box” technology, we’re able to dissect accidents like this one much more analytically than we can examine most mistakes.

The crash investigators concluded that the plane crashed for entirely preventable reasons.  Apparently, the pilots had not been properly trained in the current model of airplane so that they effectively had one foot on the gas and one on the brake as they attempted to take off. In fact, the more they realized that they were in trouble, the harder they unwittingly stomped on the brake while they opened the throttle wider and wider. The result was that the plane lifted off, but only enough to stall out and crash.

How many of our organizations do the same? We say we want to explore that new idea, but we starve it of resources. We say we want to radically change how customers experience our company, but we stick doggedly to our old thought and behavior patterns. We may even leave old incentives in place that drive the old behaviors.  It’s one foot on the brake and one on the gas.  And the results are predictable.

At some point, we must choose.  We must stay safely on terra firma or release the brakes and go for lift-off.  Either choice may be fine. But choose or crash.

Which choose-or-crash decisions face you and your team? What will you do?