The trough of success

“The trough of success” perked my ears. Used in context it’s a phrase that means, you are continuing to feed on past success and being stuck there at the trough of success is a guarantee of future failure. It was aimed at IT professionals who are mired down in complex group policy and local Active Directory.

This past week, I spent most of my waking hours attending MVP Summit. Nearly all of the content is NDA, so I don’t have much to say about what was presented. But this phrase caught my attention and isn’t a Microsoft secret. It’s simply a useful idiom.

The speaker was imploring IT to modernize. Make a plan, step away from the trough of success and move into the future. Join devices to Entra as a new default, use Zero Trust, just-in-time permissions, dynamic groups, autopilot device rollout and to focus on the end user success, rather than dogma. The way you’ve always done things, is now the old insecure legacy method and it isn’t sustainable in today’s world.

My heart soared! This is how I vision the world of IT too.

It seemed obvious to me but then I have a way of assuming that the future is already here and everything around me is just playing catch up. This is how I operate my businesses. This is how I run my life.

Hey, Copilot. Help me out here

Certainly! Here are some phrases that convey the idea that relying solely on past successes can lead to future failures:

  1. Resting on one’s laurels: This phrase suggests that one is satisfied with previous achievements and not striving for further success, which can lead to complacency and eventual failure.
  2. Living in the past: It implies that one is so focused on previous triumphs that they are not adequately preparing for the future.
  3. Dwelling on yesterday’s success: This indicates that one is not moving forward or innovating, which is necessary for continued success.
  4. The past is a poor predictor of the future: This phrase reminds us that just because something worked before, it doesn’t guarantee it will work again.
  5. Success breeds complacency; complacency breeds failure: It’s a cautionary reminder that becoming too comfortable with success can prevent one from recognizing and adapting to new challenges.

These expressions emphasize the importance of continual growth, learning, and adaptation to maintain success over time.

How do you get out of the trough of success?

It’s easier said than done but the answer is that you just stop doing it. You don’t enable hybrid-AD because it’s a crutch that is holding you back from successfully leaving the trough. Join new devices to Entra ID. Allow those users to logon first with that credential. Enable modern authentication methods, policies, deployment, and zero trust. Have a plan to replace older devices, migrate system to SAAS ideally and cloud if you have to.

The drum beat of buy, buy, buy more tools because they will solve all of your problems. Get a more complex chart of accounts. Use THIS set of PKI’s. These things haven’t done our industry any favors. Instead, what they’ve done is make everyone the same, feeding from the trough of success. At the same time, there’s a background din whispering “you must change” and its overwhelming to many MSPs. They need a plan that makes them feel comfortable and don’t have one.

If you start abandoning what you’ve done to be successful in the past, it’s scary, but it’s necessary. Technology has changed and the priorities have nearly flipped. Make an orderly plan to get away from what you’re doing today and start with one device, then another, then all of them.

In just a few years of running the orderly plan, you’ll be out of the trough.

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