First of all, I’m guilty. I’ve been promoted into a new role and very quickly challenged my “new” team to begin making process and technology changes to have “even more impact.” Why?

Recently, I spent some time with former teammates, part of a very successful process transformation team that literally saved the company we worked for hundreds of millions of dollars. New processes, new supporting tech, effective and extensive change management…and it worked! That was more than ten years ago.

Now that same team is essentially reinventing the changed processes with newer technology this time to be sure, but they are starting with what existed before those same processes were improved upon ten years ago.

What happened?

Over that ten-year period, two new team leaders were brought in, and yes, each felt the need to “improve upon what was already working.” Not tweak, not introduce new technology support—but rather essentially start from the beginning again. Why?

As leaders, we often feel the pressure to “make our mark,” “to prove our worth,” “to sometimes justify to ourselves our new assignment/promotion.”


We are responsible for making things better, increasing impact, growing sales and profit, building talent, etc., but we shouldn’t often have to start from scratch.

Talking to myself here, begin with listening to understand: a) the real and perceived value of current ways of working, b) the current context of the solution today, versus when it was implemented, c) the effort that would be required to make new changes sticky, and d) the measurable real impact of improvement. Is the new effort really worth the investment of time and resources?

I believe we all will be more successful when we appropriately lead change efforts, rather than just leaving our mark on the business.