If it’s broke DON’T fix it

Image source by Shane Willis

You may spiral into frustration and irrelevance if you try to fix stagnated teams or committees.

Leaders are passionate fixers that love enhancing organizational efficiency and effectiveness. A well-oiled, productive team is a thing of beauty.

However, the larger and older your organization the more likely you’ll encounter dysfunctional teams and committees. Over time they’ve lost their relevance. Their stagnation may frustrate you.

Warning: Everything that’s broken doesn’t need fixing.

Before you fix it:

Before fixing long-standing, entrenched, unproductive teams ask:

  1. Are they essential to fulfilling organizational mission? At one time they were. However, over time, they may have lost relevance.
  2. Are they consuming significant resources? For example, volunteers may be donating their own time and resources.
  3. Do they negatively impact the organization as a whole?
  4. Is their work relevant to organizational vision? Perhaps the most important question.
  5. Are they road blocking forward momentum?

If you answer, “No,” to these questions, don’t fix them. Let them continue to spiral out of significance into a slow, irrelevant death. Choose this path in order to avoid distracting, unnecessary conflict and confrontation.

How to move forward:

  1. Go around. Side step them by heading in new directions with new people and resources.
  2. Add to. Don’t take away from them. Add another team that enhances mission and vision.
  3. Work outside. Create a skunk works team that pursues dramatic success.

I regularly receive messages from frustrated people. Sometimes they’re new to an organization. To them, dysfunctional teams are obvious. They want to fix them.

Perhaps your broken team can be ignored.

Things you can’t ignore:

  1. Any team relevant to organizational success.
  2. A dysfunctional board of directors or other leadership teams.

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Do you have other suggestions to help people decide if they should ignore or fix a dysfunctional team?

Can you think of things within an organization that could be ignored rather than fixed?

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