Not too fast…Not too slow
Some people want to change everything. Some people want to change nothing. We see this in people in all walks of life. People frozen in time who can’t escape the good old days or people lost in the chaos of continuous instability. When their decisions only impact themselves, who cares. But when they impact others it’s a different story.
As Viscountess Nancy Astor, first female Member of Parliament, observed: “The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything – or nothing.”
We see the negative impacts all the time in the world of business. The stories are legion of the leader who reads a hot new business book and declares that the entire company will now operate based on its exciting new principles…starting now. It’s the best way they ever found to make everything work better. Until the next hot new book comes along which leads to another complete change for the company. Whiplash ensues coupled with confusion.
At the other extreme are the leaders who are afraid to change anything because there’s always the chance there’s another fact they haven’t found yet or the possibility that a change will lead to poorer performance. While they dither and worry, the world passes them by and another company in their industry who is not afraid to act puts them out of business.
In both cases the various stakeholders of the enterprise suffer.
The best leaders and managers find a middle path. Not so cutting edge that it slices off your current success. Not so hidebound that you become a punchline in the pantheon of great companies that went on to fail.
The middle path is different for every successful organization. In some it rides just under the change everything edge. In others it approaches the change nothing edge. But in most it’s closer to the center.
Successful leaders let other companies race forward so fast they fall off a cliff or move so slowly they freeze in place. They take notice of what works and what doesn’t and incorporate the best things into their organizations, moving forward with growing revenues and profitability.
Do you go too fast or too slow? Find the right pace in the middle path as you lead your organization forward.