Big changes are long term investments

Attempting Big Organizational Changes in an enterprise is as daring an endeavor as moving from one city to another. I know, I did that just a few months ago. I had my conveniently located flat, my favorite shopping malls and markets, a hairdresser I could just say “same as usual” to and he’d know immediately which parts of my head need cutting. I knew the streets, clubs, shops and public transportation network. I knew the driving lanes and traffic jams. I lost these optimizations and had to start anew.

When you reorganize a team, department or a whole company, you essentially rip all the existing network of acquaintances and interdependencies. All the optimal structures built over the years, in order to do as much as possible with as little energy as needed. I don’t regret moving, I love my new city. But it will take me around two years of my life to build the knowledge and relationships to my previous environment’s level.

If you’re daring enough to push big changes through your organization, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. You’ll lose a lot and won’t start gaining until months or years later, when the initial “investment” is returned. Add up all the costs and do the math. Perhaps a series of Kaizen-like changes will take you faster where you want to be.

Thanks to Paweł Brodziński for triggering these thoughts.

I make software. And other things. Mostly in Warsaw, Poland, from wherever there’s an Internet connection, power outlet and fresh coffee. I love to read and learn how the world works. You should follow me at @mpaluchowski.

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