TZL 1478 (web)



Disruption, or caretaking?

For every situation that mandates disruption, there will be an equal number of situations that require maintenance of the status quo.

I t seems like everyone wants to be “disruptive” these days. I guess they want “to shake things up,” or maybe “break something that wasn’t broken.” In all seriousness, some things do need shaking up and some radical redirection needs to occur when an organization or part of it isn’t performing.

Mark Zweig

On the other hand, maybe some of the time disruption is the last thing needed. What could be needed instead may be best described as “caretaking.” Keeping things that are being done right in an organization that does something well. Not messing up “grandma’s recipe.” Disruption may be easier to pull off than caretaking. Think about it. You don’t have to know as much. You are unfettered by information or past practices. Tradition and history aren’t important. Caretaking involves intimate knowledge of the situation and the cast of characters. It does not provide radically different results. It’s a maintenance role. It’s not as exciting as disruption. Nor may it draw as much attention to yourself. I have written recently that knowing what to change and what to keep the same is a big part of the art

of management. What if nothing really needs to change? There are plenty of businesses in that position. “Disruptors” and the radical disruption they create could well be a threat to the business. How do you know if something needs to be disrupted? I would raise and answer the following: ■ Is the business declining, or is it still growing? If still growing, that is one indication that it doesn’t need radical change. ■ How is the business performing relative to industry norms? Better, worse, or the same? This means you need to first know how you are performing across a wide range of typical performance metrics and then track how you are

See MARK ZWEIG , page 12


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