Beyond Local Max
Seth Godin explains why we get stuck and what we can do about it.
Most people get stuck at the Local Max because changing strategy in any direction (this is really a 3D chart, but I’ve smushed it to make it easier) leads to poorer results.
You’ve got a very good job as an art director. To do better, you’d either have to move to another firm, move to another town, switch careers or go back to school. And all of them have costs and very uncertain returns, so you stay.
You have 100 competitors in an industry that is self-described as a commodity. You use the same tactics your competition does, because if you change your pricing or fundamentally alter your marketing outreach, you get punished in terms of sales or profits.
You’ve got summer camp with 80 kids in it. If you want to grow, you’ve learned the hard way that hiring one or two more senior staff people won’t work, because you can’t afford them. So you stick with what you’ve got.