Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Change vs Consistency

I had an interesting discussion with Crystal a couple days ago.  We were talking about different management personalities, and which ones we preferred to work under.

Crystal's management is constantly changing things.  Changing the way things look in the flyer (she works in advertising).  Changing what the emphasis is on.  Changing the way things are positioned on the page.  It drives her crazy.  There is little consistency.

I work for people who love consistency.  Just keep doing what you're doing, and do it with excellence.  Change?  It's a four letter word.

It makes sense, advertising needs to keep doing something new and fresh, otherwise it becomes white noise and people ignore it.  People tune in to the radio to hear consistency.  They want to hear their favourite songs, weather and news.  They don't want to be surprised by what comes out of the speaker.

But I am naturally wired to push for change.  I like change, like to try new things (so what if they fail!), like to push the envelope and stretch people.  In my mind if you maintain status quo, then you'll soon be passed by the innovators, the people who are looking for news ways to do things.

I was at a conference a couple years ago where the speaker talked about AmTrak, and how they viewed themselves as in the "train business" not the "transportation business".  That decision is the reason they are saddled with debt and no longer own the transportation industry the way they once did.

So where's the balance?  I don't think you win by maintaining the status quo, but too much change isn't a recipe for success either.  What do you think?  Which do you prefer?

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