Rearranging the furniture

Rearranging the Furniture
It's good to change things up in your organization or with your team...but not just for change's sake.

There’s an outstanding article in an ancient (by today’s standards) issue of Fast Company, about management consultant Dave Ulrich.

The key takeaway: It’s important to purposely mix things up in your organization. Rearrange the furniture for the right reasons.

Ulrich is the author of Results Based Leadership and Fast Company points out he was “ranked” among the top management gurus in the world prior to him taking a dramatic detour to serve as a mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Quebec.

Try not to get distracted over the notion of magazines ranking management gurus, which just seems ridiculous, because there’s a lesson here…

While the book is outstanding, Ulrich says in the article that one key to engaging the largely 19-20-year-old missionaries he presides over is rearranging the furniture. Or, as he puts it:

“Every two to three months, I’ve got to get another idea that will hook people’s attention. If I implement new ideas too much, it’s chaos. If I wait too long, the energy dies.”

How genius, and yet simple, is that insight? And how broad the application!

Companies are good at making changes. Some benefit customers. Some alienate. Some streamline processes. Some complicate them. Most of this is just rearranging the furniture for the sake of rearranging. That’s a bad thing.

But how about having a conscientious approach to encouraging innovation and risk-taking to transform the business? What could you do in your company to introduce a bit of “controlled chaos”?

I don’t mean a culture where you say you’re always innovating or creatively thinking and trying new things. I mean a culture where you manage the process — where you have a well-thought-out plan for ensuring those attributes.

I’m personally glad I re-discovered this long-bookmarked article. Does it have value to you, too?

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