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  • Writer's pictureGreg Salsburg


“If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Or “If it isn’t broke, don’t break it,” have each been a popular cliché repeated ad-nauseum by leaders, pundits, and talking heads with such conviction one might confuse these as a mandate or a guaranteed path to success. However, there is one flaw: the entirety of the statement.

Change, even at times simply for change’s sake, can be a vital lever to pull to ensure your business organism grows, evokes creativity, innovation, efficient resource allocation, and adaptability.

I am not suggesting blowing up a company to start fresh, nor am I necessarily suggesting a move from being a farming widget-maker to a pharmaceutical widget supplier. However, if you can pull off that niche, please go for it, and we will provide our services for free just for the thrill of the ride. I am also not suggesting you abandon your company ethos. Those must remain and fall more into the other cliché category of “The more things change, the more they sit the same.”

James’s March of Stanford University eloquently explained: Exploitation (doing what works today) drives out exploration (seeking out risky but potentially valuable new ways of doing things). A company that is seemingly healthy and well-performing for some time without any change can actually be vulnerable to major disruptions. To give equal voice to another Ivy, Harvard professors have determined that even the change you implement needs to change from application to application for productive disruption to take place.

By way of everyday example. In any fitness activity, you will find yourself in stagnation and hit a plateau. It’s not because something is wrong. It’s because the body has become comfortable and has anticipated the output and thus even determined the outcome which it chooses as the path of least resistance, the same as the day prior. Switch up the routine, and the progress will immediately return and often to higher levels.

Many companies operate in the same manner, maintaining business functions around a single criterion, creating a silo effect. On the other side, I witnessed a company in six months go from an internal struggle close to a mutiny and mass exodus of top executives to double-digit growth. The company made only one change: the design of their office. They moved stakeholder's office locations, removed all solid doors and added glass windows in each office, and created an open-air meeting room where all service heads had to meet weekly, which not only allowed for a greater degree of shared information, it spoke to the entire company “we work as one.”

One area to consider is humans seek safety and thus love well-established routines, and they are uncomfortable and will often reject change as a knee-jerk reaction and sometimes an allergic one. However, top performers are that way because they know how to adapt. Some will even find it a new challenge. For the rest, change reminds them this is the place of business and performance is the indicator. Some will simply disappear. I say good riddance.

We walk it like we talk it, and our company has made seismic shifts and changes since 2020. It has come with equal parts strife as it has success. However, the fruits of that labor have been beyond bountiful.

The risk of not assessing your internal and external business functions, directions, and market condition and making bold pivots and changes against them is extremely costly.

Make the Change.

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