Does this sound familiar?
Someone is newly hired into a position of influence or leadership at an organization. One of the first things they do is propose investing considerable resources into making a big change.
The organization says "yes!" because it's new and different, instead of evaluating the proposal on its merits. Time and money is spent, things are changed. And then the new hire moves on to another organization, leaving things in turmoil. Maybe someone else is hired and the process repeats. Oh no!
Maybe you've seen it play out in these ways:
- A new director of marketing wants to change the logo, tagline and reprint all promotional assets.
- A new website manager wants to change the underlying Content Management System.
- A new lead back-end developer wants to change the underlying software framework or database system.
- A new lead front-end developer wants to redesign the website from the ground up.
- A new CEO wants to change the company from distributed to centralized, or vice versa.
- A new HR manager wants to switch to a new payroll system.
- A new customer support manager wants to switch to a new support ticketing system.
- A new office manager wants to install a new phone system.
- A new finance director wants to switch accounting systems.
And so on.
Sometimes these changes are absolutely the best and most important things to happen at an organization. If it's been avoiding switching to better tools or processes because of apathy or fear, having a new voice in the mix can be just the thing needed to push everyone in a better direction.
But I suspect many times these kinds of changes are being used by the new hire as way to establish their value and power. They want everyone to know that there was how things were done before they arrived, and how things will be done moving forward. And if the new way is derived solely from their personality or preferences, everyone will need to depend on them to figure out best practices.
When these unhealthy dynamics are the driving force behind a big change it can be at best a huge disruption and waste, and maybe even an existential threat to the organization's work, services or products.