I know as a new IT manager that it can be a mistake to just stick with the same ol’ routine established by my predecessor. But aren’t there times when it makes sense to stick with the status quo?
Absolutely! Sticking with the status quo can do good or harm depending on the wider organizational dynamics. If the organization is stable and functioning well, then sticking with the status quo can deny my team and my organization opportunities to do even better. It’s the old “nothing ventured, nothing gained” axiom.
In other words, if everything is going pretty well, doing the exact same things you or your organization has always done won’t improve outcomes. On the other hand, whenever organizations are going through periods of instability, uncertainty, or disruption, it can actually be a good idea not to introduce further disruptions especially in areas where the organization is currently doing well.
Let’s say your specific team is performing well in and of itself, but the wider company is having financial problems. Then now is not the time to experiment or introduce any costly, new processes or requests for an expenditure. In a situation like this, it’s best to make sure your team is meeting all of its goals and fulfilling all of the expectations of top management.
Once the dust settles, you can get back to tweaking activities of the team to improve team outcomes. Likewise, if your team is having a lot of communication problems with another team, say between a team of developers and a team of testers, now is not the time to embark on a process overhaul inside of the teams development work until those other problems are resolved. When things are dicey, it’s best to either weather the storm, for big issues, or focus on fixing the problem, for smaller issues.
Also remember that teams are only able to take on two to three new initiatives at a time. Even if things are going really well on your team and in the broader organization, it’s best to make sure one great new idea is fully implemented than to have lots of great ideas that never come to fruition.