Monday, June 14, 2010


"If it ain't broke don't fix it" or "If it ain't broke, don't break it" have each been popular clichés I have heard uttered by some well regarded leaders in business, as if they were mandates. Only problem, both can actually be counter-intuitive to business success. Change, even change for change's sake, is a vital business organism to evoke creativity, innovation, efficient resource allocation and adaptability. I am not talking about blowing up a company to start fresh, nor am I suggesting a move from being a farming widget maker to a pharmaceutical widget supplier. However, if you can pull off that niche go for it, we will provide our services for free, just for the ride.

James 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 sometime without any change, can actually be vulnerable to major disruptions.

Harvard professors have determined that even the change you implement needs to change from application to application in order for the productive disruption to take place.

Do you workout? Ever hit a plateau and growth becomes stagnant? It's not because you are doing anything wrong, it's that the body has become comfortable and has anticipated the output. Switch up the routine and progress will immediately return. Many companies operate in the same manner, maintaining business functions around a single criterion and creating a silo effect. I saw in a span of three months one company almost have a mutiny and mass exodus of top employees and then double digit growth in the same year. All caused by changing personal office locations within the company's offices, removing solid doors and replacing with clear glass ones, and insisting each key personal in each division share information with other service lines at staff meetings. Many people love well-established routines and are uncomfortable and will reject change. 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 a place of business and performance is the indicator. (Some will simply disappear.)

At our company, we have made major shifts in the past 18 months. It’s been difficult, but now are we seeing the positive returns that come with strategic change.

The risk of not assessing your internal and external business functions, directions, market condition is costly. Not allowing for your business to change to capitalize on those opportunities is deadly.

All my best,

Greg Salsburg
The Big STIR | STIR-Communications
Miami  | New York | London
c: (561) 386-8064 | o: (305) 407-1723

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of that other saying...Don't just sit there, do something. Anything.

    Often when giving a talk I start by getting everyone to stand up and take a seat far away from where they first sat. Interesting to hear people's comments about how just changing where they usually sit gives them a completely differenct perspective on things.