In the spring of 2021, the NCAA voted to allow football and basketball players to transfer from their current school to a new school and become immediately eligible to play. Previously, those transferring players were required to sit out one year before becoming eligible to play. That simple rule change has dramatically impacted players and schools around the country. It’s an understatement to say that it has altered the landscape of these sports.
If you follow college athletics, you know about this rule change. You may love it, you may hate it, probably based on how it has impacted the competitiveness of your favorite Division I school. How has your school or coach responded? Have they embraced the transfer portal, or have they been slow in responding to the change? Did they complain about how it wasn’t going to be good for college athletics? Has the change impacted their competitiveness?
If I’m honest, my favorite team has been slow in adapting and when they have, they haven’t added the best transfers. I think the coach preferred the way the world used to be because he spent about 30 years operating as it used to be. It’s had a significant impact on their success. In short, they are not winning, they’re being passed by. Another team I follow has embraced it and they are winning more than before and are nationally ranked.
Major changes or major shifts happen in every industry. Ask yourself how does your organization react to them? Does your leadership choose to be an early adopter, embracing the change? Or do they hold back and “wait and see”? What’s your personal preference?
A common response for many organizations is to hold fast, to continue doing what they’ve been doing. It’s what we know, and it was working, so why won’t it continue to work. In other words, the organization does nothing.
Why does this happen?
Never forget, leaders are human. They’re just like you and me, uncomfortable with change. Change brings in the unknown or uncertainty and the brain doesn’t like it. Change requires us to operate differently, often with a different set of rules. It’s much more comfortable continuing to do what you’ve always done.
Leaders aren’t stupid, but sometimes they prefer a decision that is without risk. They want to avoid failure, so they ask for data, then more data, then some analysis. It can become paralysis by analysis, which leads to doing nothing.
Rarely do they ask what the organization be like in 3-5 years if they do nothing, and just keep doing what they’ve been doing. Your decision should be about what’s best for the organization in the future, not how uncomfortable making changes will make people feel.
Risk and courage are involved in every important decision. You must have courage to take risks, because there might be a failure associated with the risk. If you aren’t willing to take risks, don’t be in leadership.
In my experience, I’ve consistently found, 1.) things either get better or worse, but they rarely stay the same, and 2.) doing nothing usually results in getting passed by the competition.
Doing nothing is not a great strategy.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6