Somewhere Between Complacency and Fear  - CLEO Skip to main content


Cecil Ursprung, the former CEO of Reflexite Corporation, once described his ideal organizational culture as being a permanent ‘state of mild dissatisfaction.’ You may not agree with the word ‘dissatisfaction,’ but I expect you would agree that innovation flourishes when employee owners are constantly seeking ways to improve the company and that happens when employees are not satisfied with the status quo. Creative energy flows when people refuse to walk away from situations that are ‘good enough.’

Of course, too much dissatisfaction is destructive: it causes turnover, resentment, and, if it persists, a sense of learned helplessness. The sweet spot is somewhere between complacency and fear, but how do you know if your company has found the right level of dissatisfaction?