Making big changes can be difficult…even when you are in charge

One of the first things I learned, when I came to NSF, was how entrenched the status quo often is. A big project for the Directorate was headed for disaster and no one seemed to be able to pull the fire alarm. In the end, I needed to move the program, and change out every single individual from our management team before things began to turn around.

Now, I’m facing a similar challenge with another big ticket project. It’s been frozen in place, with ‘business as usual’ for years and there’s a lot of pressure from within to just keep on keeping on. Trouble is, it makes no sense in terms of the best interests of the rest of the Directorate. So, we are making changes, but once again very much sailing into a headwind. There are a lot of strong emotions directed at keeping things just the way they’ve always been.

But when you’re in charge, you actually are charged with making those big changes. Too stay in stasis is to fail.