I’ve never been a proponent of the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Sometimes you need a change and nothing is “broken”. It just isn’t as good as it could be, it’s keeping other things from being better, or it’s soon going to be broke unless you change. But there are indicators of times not to change.
Here are 7 times not to change:
When there isn’t a compelling purpose.
There should always be a why. It might be as simple as if you don’t change you’re going to be bored out of your mind, but have a reason before you introduce change.
When there are no good leaders behind it.
You need people who buy into the change. If a change has value you can usually find supporters. They may be few and may do nothing more than speak up for the change. If no one can get excited about the change except you, you probably need to raise up some supporters before moving forward. (There are rare exceptions to this one, but again, they are rare.)
When you haven’t defined a win.
Changing before you know what success looks like will keep you running in a lot of ineffective directions without much progress.
When the loss is more expensive than the win.
Sometimes the cost just isn’t worth it. You can’t justify the people and resource expense for the potential return.
When the leader isn’t motivated.
There are times to wait if senior leadership can’t get excited or at least support the change if push back develops. Eventually, without their support, you’ll be less likely to experience sustaining, successful change.
When too many other things are changing.
Any organization or group of people can only handle so much change at a time. This requires great discernment on the part of leaders to know when there is too much change occurring and it is best to wait for something new.
When an organization is in crisis mode.
If a ship is sinking, fix the leak or bail some water – before choosing your next destination. When things are in crisis, is not the time to make a ton of changes. Catch your breath first, make sure a core of people is solid behind the vision, and take careful steps to plan intentional, helpful and needed change.
This isn’t intended as a checklist of indicators of times not time for change. I would never want to stop someone from making needed changes. In fact, I love change. I do try to encourage better change and I hope this helps. Check out my leadership podcast where we discuss issues/topics like this in a conversational format.