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Taco and Status Quo Live On

By Joey Havens

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Two of our best friends, Alan and Lisa (I won’t mention their last name for privacy purposes) recently told us this hilarious story about their cat, Taco.

So, Taco Purdie, a big, orange cat with a slight white streak on his back has been a family pet for 15 years. Alan has become very fond of this cat who guards their yard with fierce ownership. On this morning, as Alan left for work, he did not see Taco but didn’t really give it much thought. As he turned out on the main road from the neighborhood, he had only gone a few hundred yards when he saw an orange-colored cat lying in the middle of the road–dead. As he rode past, he thought, “Surely that isn’t Taco,” and he turned his car around to check. 

As he approached the cat, his worse fears came true—it was Taco. Alan loaded Taco on the back seat and went back home to share the sad news about Taco with Lisa. But as Lisa came outside she said, “I can’t look at a dead cat. Are you sure it’s Taco?” “Yes,” Alan assured sadly, “look at his paws, it’s him.” So Lisa told him to please come get her after the cat was buried. 

Alan was distraught over finding Taco like this but prepared a nice burial site under the big oak tree just beyond their house. He placed stones over the grave site and paused to say a prayer for Taco then started back up to the house. As he was putting his shovel and things away, he looked out in the yard and standing there looking back at him was none other than Taco. “Lisa!” he yelled into the house. “Come out here—Taco is alive.” Lisa came running out to the garage but Taco was nowhere to be seen. “I swear, I just saw Taco, Lisa!” As Lisa began to gaze at Alan while he called for the cat and swirled around searching for it, she said, “Alan, I know you were extremely fond of Taco but he’s gone, come inside and let’s have a cup of coffee. I think you are seeing things.” An even more flustered and defiant Alan exclaimed, “No, I’m telling you, I saw Taco! He was here just a moment ago.”

Not sure what to say or do for Alan at this point, Lisa started walking back inside and instinctively, glanced at the cat’s food station only to see him munching away on his food, not the slightest bit aware of the hysteria he had caused. “Well Alan, you did see Taco. He’s right here. You’ve buried someone else’s cat!”

As I shared with Alan and Lisa, I am not sure how fond you can truly be of a cat that you can’t identify! That caused a big round of laughter from them both. 

Taco reminds me of the status quo in businesses today. We go through lots of processes, meetings (and maybe a few prayers) to bury some aspect of the status quo in our operations and client service. We celebrate the new path forward, and as we start to have that first coffee break, there’s Status Quo again. Somehow, it has survived as our team continues to do what we have always done. Like Taco, Status Quo has nine lives and we have to be very intentional to bury the right strategy or tactic keeping us from changing. 

We have protectors of the status quo in every organization. We must identify them, include them and challenge them as we bury the status quo that is holding us back.