Friday, March 04, 2005

Wanted: A Continuity Champion--The Case for Staying On Course

Don't get me wrong: I have often been praised (and cursed, too) for my persistence in driving changes.

But sometimes, I can be (and need to be) stubborn too. I believe there are times when you can't change just for a change's sake. And this includes my job. Sometimes there are disagreement, and sometimes you don't get treated fairly. But you will get this everywhere in any job.

Harvard Business Review, February 2005
Breakthrough Ideas for 2005

"The ability to champion change is the very mark of a leader, we hear. Change agents are sexy by business standards. They battle strong vested interests and mankind's reluctance to rock a boat, even (or especially) if it leaks. Change will not happen without their heroic assistance ... the defenders of status quo too often appear to be--and are--knee-jerk naysayers who champion the wrong continuity. It's more glamorous to be Napoleon (who gained and lost an empire in little more than a decade) than Hadrian (who gave the Roman Empire a stability that endured for generations) ... But 'coping with change' can mean standing firm against a tide. 'Setting direction' can mean staying the course. Part of the leader's job is to evaluate the threats and opportunities that change creates.": Thomas A. Stewart, Editor, HBR

And sometimes, the discussion also turned to my present career. Some people think that I would be better off doing something different, because some think that I have accomplished quite a lot. Well, I take that as a compliment, but, really?

I recognized that I had done many good things. But humbly, I too recognized that I might not have done them as well without the support of the team and the environment that I currently had. And this is why I do not seek always seek change just for a change's sake.

Harvard Business Review, May 2004
The Risky Business of Hiring Stars

"Our data showed that 46% of the research analysts did poorly in the year after they left one company for another. After they switched loyalties, their performance plummeted by an average of about 20% and had not climbed back to the old levels even five years later ... Most of us have an instinctive faith in talent and genius, but it isn't just that people make organizations perform better. The organization also makes people perform better ... When researchers studied the performance of 2,086 mutual fund managers between 1992 and 1998, they found that 30% of a fund's performance could be attributed to the individual and 70% was due to the manager's institution.": Boris Groysberg (Assistant Professor, HBS), Ashish Nanda (Assistant Professor, HBS), Nitin Nohria (Professor, HBS)

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