I used to be really annoyed with people who took a wait-and-see approach to change. They’re not resistant, exactly, and they might be classified as “late adopters.” But I could understand active resistance better than passive indifference.

Now, however, I have a little different take on things. Because I have realized that if you wait long enough, you may find that whatever was changed comes back around again!

Such as…

  • Centralization vs decentralization of departments or functions
  • Use of consultants vs hiring internal resources
  • Outsourcing vs insourcing

This reminded me about the lines from the Disney movie, “The Lion King,” where young Simba gets the explanation about how the antelopes eat the grass and the lions eat the antelopes, and then the lions die and their bodies turn to grass (OK, you knew it would be a PG version) which is then eaten by the antelopes. So everything comes back to a big circle of replaying the same scenarios.

For process changes, it’s easy to see howthis becomes just another bright idea to wait out, to someone who’s been around a long time. Especially when you’re in an organization that promises that every change is NOT just the flavor of the month, and then six months later it’s disappeared. So how can I criticize someone for saying, “Well, go ahead with this Lean thing, I’ll just wait and see what comes of it before getting enthusiastic about it.” After all, they’ve probably been right about all the other wonderful new initiatives and changes that have come and gone before.

Maybe you are fortunate enough to work in a place which has solved this circular pattern, or maybe you are trying to break out of that. Would you care to share your experiences, to help us put some perspective on the issue?

About the Author