Why you suddenly discover everything you fixed is broken

You inherit your grandmother’s house. Unknown to you is one peculiarity: all the light fixtures have bulbs that give off blue rather than yellow light.

You find that you don’t like the feel of the rooms and spend a lot of time and money repainting walls, reupholstering furniture, and replacing carpets.

You never seem to get it quite right, but nonetheless, you rationalize that at least it is improving with each thing you do. Then one day you notice the blue lightbulbs and change them.

Suddenly, all that you fixed is broken.

Context is like the color of the light, not the objects in the room. Context colors everything in the corporation. More accurately, the context alters what we see, usually without our being aware of it.

(From HBR, 1993: The Reinvention Roller Coaster: Risking the Present for a Powerful Future)