Don’t go changin’

One of the worst things a new person can do is start to change things.

Perhaps your way is better. Perhaps the way you did it at your old place was smarter. But suddenly changing things at your new place when it affects everybody else isn’t smart at all. This is especially true if you start changing things without asking anybody else for their opinion.

Say we are all rowing a boat together, and a new person jumps in and starts calling out a different cadence. Or brings a different kind of oar. Or drops the anchor in the middle of the race. It is going to mess everything up. It is going to make the whole thing stop.

It is OK to ask, or suggest, or recommend. It isn’t OK to just do it.

Even if you’ve been there a long time, don’t make sudden changes if it affects other people. If it affects your work area and nobody else works where you are, then have at it. If other people use that space, then don’t.

Sometimes it may seem like we “are doing it this way because we’ve always done it this way.” Sometimes we may be. But sometimes there is a rule that you don’t know about because you’ve not been there long enough to know that rule.

Sometimes people will push back not because of the idea, but because of how it is presented. You have to warm people up to a change. You have to include them. You have to think about their feelings.

It doesn’t matter if the idea is a good one if people aren’t willing to put their energy behind it. Surprising people with sudden change will never result in their support.

The result isn’t more important than the people. If you leave the people out of the equation, you will make a far bigger mess than the one you were trying to fix.