One Minute Muse: What’s the Best Time to Shake Things Up? (The Answer Will Surprise You)

The timing of changes may not be what you think is the most optimal.

In most workplaces, it happens when you’re struggling and not doing well. When the pressure builds, you’re desperate— and you have nothing to lose by taking some risks. But by then, it’s often too late. You don’t have the resources to try different strategies or run bold experiments. As time goes on, pressure for quick results becomes the main driver.

The evidence suggests that the best time to shake things up is…when you’re doing well. That’s when you have the time, energy, and freedom to innovate. But unfortunately, research shows that success often makes us complacent. Experts refer to this as the fat cat syndrome

Think about a time when you’ve been at the top of your game. Did you want to embrace something radically different? Nope! You probably became overconfident in your success and resistant to trying new things. 

Look what happen to Blockbuster video. At one point, they were opening a new store every day. So they didn’t see any reason to buy a little mail-order company called umm Netflix. The rest is history.  

How about Yahoo? In 2005, they were one of the main companies in the online advertising market. The decision to focus more on media meant they neglected consumer trends and a need to improve the user experience. They almost had a deal to buy Google in 2002. They also had the chance to buy Facebook in 2006 but lowered their offer. So Zuckerberg backed out. Again the rest is history. 

How about Blackberry? MySpace? Polaroid? This list goes on and on.

Explore, innovate and change things up when times are good. Or you may just let history repeat itself. 

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