I was watching a DVD of the history of the Kingston Trio and something Dave Guard said really struck a cord with me. Dave left the very successful trio when they were at the peak of their success because he thought they should go in a new direction and said "my way or I quit." The others said "Goodbye."
Dave struggled with a new group and new format in Australia and really never did mush at all. There was quite a tension between him and the group for various reasons. Anyway when they had a reunion and started talking to each other, Dave said the lesson he learned was not turn your back on your power base.
I was think about my career and realized I did that at least twice in my career. One that I realized at the time and was able to correct. The other was not a serious and I made the transition more slowly.
When I had been doing management consulting for the Information Systems department for some time, I decided I wanted to move up to do more senior management consulting in Strategic Planning. With the blessing of my partners, I formed a Strategic Management Group and formed a alliance with fellow who had written a book on planning and was interested in an alliance. I was surprised to find that my partners were reluctant to involve me with their client because they figured I did not want to work on Information systems issues. I therefore had to create a completely new client base. Trying to change the brand of a well known IS consulting firm was very difficult.
Eventually I disbanded the Strategic Management Group and found I could do the same work branching out from the IS consulting practice. I had turned my back on my power base and really struggled.
My advice to people who would like to change the work they do build on your current base and move in the direction by small increments. Sometimes that takes some creativity but well worth the effort. Rushing to my defense, I will say however during my time with the Strategic Management Group I learned some valuable tools in Strategic Planning. I have written about these in previous blog. See:
Strategic Planning – Setting Priorities http://pxltd.typepad.com/project_x_discussions/2006/11/strategic_plann.html
Strategic Thinking – An Analytical Approach http://pxltd.typepad.com/project_x_discussions/2006/11/strategic_think.html#more
I guess the last part of this blog is me rushing to my own defense. However although it may sound like you are compromising your vision, I still think maintaining your power base is an important strategy. I think if Dave Guard had stayed with the trio he could have transformed the group gradually while enjoying great success. He really had a great sound and was integral with the original group. Afterwords they were good but not the same.