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Don’t Change What Works

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak 

In my book, The RemixI offer seven “rules for remixers.” Rule #6 feels particularly relevant right now: Don’t change what works.

It’s beyond cliché to point out that we are living in times of change and disruption. Somewhat counterintuitively, I’ve found that a helpful way to help people adapt to change is to focus on what will stay the same. Now more than ever, the fundamentals—those things that an individual, team or company should not change and will not change—are more important than ever.

This is particularly important in managing long-tenured employees, who can feel most threatened by a disruption to their usual ways of working. I was once delivering a workshop to a group of university professors on the topic of generational change. As I was describing Millennials’ and Gen Zs’ desire for shorter and more interactive learning opportunities, a chemistry professor raised his hand and asked — somewhat snarkily, I might add — if I was saying he should no longer teach the periodic table of the elements because his students might find it boring. 

Of course, that is not what I was saying at all. The periodic table of the elements is essential, fundamental knowledge. But isn’t it possible that professors can find new and innovative ways of teaching it? I’m guessing they are doing that as we speak and teachers everywhere are adapting their lessons to hybrid and virtual learning environments.

If you are currently leading a team through this pandemic, do not change what works in your leadership style and habits. Good people managers, for example, are good managers of any generation because they get the fundamentals right: they care about their employees, they give regular feedback and they help their employees succeed. 

The same goes for leading in our ongoing remote work environment. You might now be coaching an employee over Skype instead of in person, but the attention and commitment you are showing to that employee remain the same. 

What fundamentals are you sticking to during the pandemic? How are you continuing to do what works? Please share!

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