The Advantage of Change
Change is inevitable. Sometimes its having a bagel instead of yogurt and you don’t really notice. Other times it feels like a sky diver looking back up at the plane. You’re frightened, but you’re committed. Life moves on.
I’ve recently left a job, the one I’ve had for eleven years. It wasn’t easy to leave. The work and the people suited me well. I’ll miss many of the day-to-day relationships and what we accomplished. For the longest time the formula worked, until it didn’t. It could have continued but I needed change.
The NFL is gearing up for the season. Free agency, which is normally a four month process, is compacted into a few days. Players without contracts are free to shop their skills to teams that need it and many factors go into a deal. For instance, the Philadelphia Eagles have signed several potential superstars. They are cautiously optimistic and nothing is guaranteed – winning depends on the right formula of teammates and strategy.
I’ve commented on the notion of superstars in the workplace before. They do exist but it’s usually a function of the team, the formula. Things need to come together just right for success to take hold. The people who comprise the team need to understand their role and how they fit together. This isn’t easy because we are a dynamic species and often have more than one thing we are good at. And this can create confusion about how to maximize the contributions of the people on the team. Perhaps I’m the most productive at more than one task, but I can only be in one place at a time. Where do I spend my time? If it doesn’t get sorted out, mediocrity is the best case scenario and sometimes disaster ensues.
What needs to be found is Comparative Advantage. An article in Fortune called The Start Up Law of Comparative Advantage by Jeff Bussgang was timely and it highlights the strengths of the founder of a start up and how he must dedicate time to product and people. From there the founder should spend their time maximizing what they contribute, not doing all the jobs.
This isn’t easy. Its a combination of trusting others and knowing you can never go back. Once you’ve decided you need to commit. You want things to go slow so you can figure out the formula. Figure out how to make it perfect forever. But gravity only has one speed and once you jumped you can’t get back on the plane.