“Organizations that destroy the status quo win… the status quo could be the time that ‘everyone knows’ it takes you to ship an order, or the commission rate that ‘everyone knows’ an agent ought to be paid…

Whatever the status quo is, changing it gives you the opportunity to be remarkable.”

Let’s be honest: for most of us, the above excerpt from Seth Godin’s book Tribes, We Need You to Lead Us instinctively rings true. There’s a reason the phrase “no risk, no reward” has become such a cliche. 

Destroying the status quo works. Just look at the meteoric rise of companies which do so — case in point, Airbnb. When the company burst onto the scene in 2008, few thought it would make a significant impact on the real estate industry. Eleven years later, the startup is reporting over $1 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2019 alone, and cities worldwide are struggling to deal with the impact Airbnb is having on real estate markets. 

The examples don’t stop there. It took Amazon ten years to report profits — precisely because the enterprise was the among the first to challenge the brick-and-mortar status quo by pioneering eCommerce. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Amazon reported $1.85 billion in profits – more than it made in fourteen years. 

Then there’s Tesla, which has consistently been derided has the avant-garde vision of billionaire founder Elon Musk. However, Tesla’s stocks just surged by 14% at the time of writing this article, in the wake of $6.33 billion in revenue. 

All of these enterprises – not to mention contenders such as Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and more – made their name by destroying the status quo. 

The positive impact of destabilizing the status quo transcends industries, which is what makes it such a powerful tool. 

Recently, we’ve seen a new way for businesses to destabilize the status quo: through championing values. 

Most of you will remember Nike’s decision in late 2018 to use Colin Kaepernick as the face of a new marketing campaign. The decision directly contradicted the long-established presumption that catering to a wide consumer-base was the best way to build a stable company. 

Despite alienating some consumers with the Kaepernick ad campaign, Nike’s return on investment (ROI) was outrageous. Online sales jumped by 31% after the campaign launched, generating $6 billion in revenue and leading Nike to its strongest fiscal year. 

Given the current state of consumerism, the success of Nike’s campaign isn’t exactly surprising. People care more than ever about supporting brands that share their values. In fact, 73% of millennials (the generation that now holds a majority of buying-power in the US) would pay more for sustainable goods from a brand that shares their values. 

There’s just one problem with challenging the status quo: it’s hard. In fact, the Harvard Business Review found that only 26% of employees think their leaders think outside the box ‘often.’ To put that in perspective, 42% believe their leaders ‘never’ think outside the box. 

That statistic isn’t exactly shocking. For leaders, challenging the status quo — let alone destroying it — holds a lot of weight. Defying the status quo means potentially risking the success of the entire company – and with it, the employees who depend on businesses for their livelihoods. 

But the statistics don’t lie. Now, more than ever, shying away from confronting the status quo is more damaging than running towards it head-on. The leaders that do destroy the status quo will outpace their competition, while those that refuse to progress will stagnate. Moreover, by challenging the status quo, you help cultivate a culture of innovation within your organization — if you think challenging the status quo is effective, wait until you get your employees on board. 

By focusing on not only challenging the status quo yourself but also creating a workplace where your enterprise collectively pushes towards new, innovative solutions, you create a system capable of taking on any challenge and emerging victorious. 

There’s only one question left: 

What kind of leader are you?

 What Is Tribal?


TRIBAL is a relationship and community building platform that helps leaders build strong, inspired teams.


TRIBAL uses strategic storytelling to enable and enhance meaningful relationships across all levels of your organization. By leveraging the inherent tribal nature and impactful stories your organization has, TRIBAL helps leaders shape a meaningful culture from the top down and bottom up. Studies show that a meaningful workplace leads to inspired employees who outperform all others.