Blending old and new – how do you find balance?

I grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, a city that is a mix of rich history and cutting edge technology.

Yes, it is called the “Rocket City” and is home of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. But it also boasts a vibrant historic district with an emphasis on protecting the heritage.

I recently visited my mom and did my morning run through the Twickenham and Old Town districts. As I jogged past homes with historic markers from the late 1700’s and 1800’s, some with huge white columns, sweet front porches, and quaint gardens, I thought about the history behind those walls. But I also wondered what high tech wonders were hidden behind there as well.

In any business or organization, it is important to find a balance between “this is how we’ve always done it” and “jump on the bandwagon of the latest craze.” The challenge is to make sure you are keeping the best of the old, while blending the right amount of new. How do you keep it fresh yet functional?

  • Keep what works – determine those processes that have worked well in your industry, business or organization. Protect those. No sense in changing something that is working well, unless you can make it better.
  • Respect your customer base (or donor base or volunteer base) – it’s great to move into social media or other technology, but if you have an older customer base unfamiliar with computers or email, don’t do away with other forms of communication and leave them out. Find a way to continue to serve them.
  • Stay on the cutting edge within reason – while it’s exciting to try out every new technological toy, be reasonable and upgrade when you need to and can afford it.
  • Create excitement around your changes – when you do decide to add new features or processes, communicate it effectively. Give plenty of notice, and explain that “we’re improving your experience” so people get excited about the new and don’t feel a sense of dread.
  • Test, test, and test some more – be sure your new process or technology will work without a glitch before rolling it out. There’s nothing worse than having to apologize because you moved too quickly. You will lose the trust of those you serve if you don’t do your due diligence.
  • Honor your past – the past is what got you where you are, so don’t discard it. Find a way to value the people and processes that led to your success.

Your organization will stagnate and fail if you don’t continue to find better ways to do business. As fast as the world is changing, leaders must be able to keep up. The challenge is to advance at the right speed and in the right areas to continue our success.

How do you blend the old and new for your business?

4 thoughts on “Blending old and new – how do you find balance?

  1. Very nicely written Carol! Some of us have bad “shiny object” syndrome and are ready to jump to the next big new thing, leaving some people behind. Great reminder!!

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