Einstein said it best: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Here’s another definition from the world of science: entropy – the tendency for all systems to break down.

When we apply these definitions to business, we’ve seen many examples of how sales, customer service and leadership teams seem to follow a natural path to dysfunction.

And once this path bottoms out, many get stuck in dysfunctional loops – doing the same things over and over again with the same results.

As we know, the price of dysfunction is huge. It’s often hard to quantify but it’s there.

In sales, you lose deals, see lower conversion rates, miss quarterly revenue and income targets, and deal with staff churn due to frustration and low morale. That’s just a short list.

In customer service, you see reduced customer loyalty, fewer upsell opportunities, negative chatter on social channels, high call center turnover and more.

And in the leadership ranks, you see organizational inefficiency, distressed operating margins, siloed behaviors, and more, way more.

One recent estimate puts the cost of poor customer service alone at $62 billion in 2016, more than triple the $20 billion in 2013.

When we first talk to prospective clients, we hear a lot of could be, would be, should be. We know it’s hard for them to admit weakness, to admit things aren’t right. So we assure them they are not alone. It’s OK.

Here’s the good news. We’ve been at this for a long time and know that coulda, woulda, shoulda is the first step in acknowledging you’re stuck in a dysfunctional loop. That entropy and insanity prevail.

So we name what’s in the loop. We put a name to the inhibiting behaviors – simply bad practices – that are keeping your business from being great, from differentiating from the competition by delivering a superior customer experience.

And the good news is that these inhibiting behaviors can be fixed. Great golfers – great athletes – know this. They’re constantly working on their game. Sometimes the fix is great. Sometimes it’s just simple adjustments.

Here’s another thing we’ve seen.

Underperforming companies choose not to invest in fixing, adjusting – then bemoan coulda, woulda, shoulda. They choose not to invest.

But great companies like great athletes understand entropy. They understand Einstein’s definition of insanity. And they understand the ever-present need to bust out of dysfunctional loops.

Great companies don’t settle for coulda, woulda, shoulda.