There are times when a cause is lost. Knowing how and when to bail are sometimes more valuable than knowing what could possibly be done to fix the problem. I am reminded as I currently watch the NBA finals of the look people have in their eye when they see their own failure laid bare before them. Those situations need to be addressed and then learned from, but you need to act quickly.
Let me tell you a story about sitting in that mire too long. I once worked in an office for a medium sized financial corporation. One of my coworkers “Brenda” was shoehorned into her current role after being rolled over from her 3rd acquired corporation. Now Brenda had a wealth of old institutional knowledge, she was great with historical policy and culture. However, she began to be pressed when asked to participate in implementing the new strategy and branding in some local offices. She wasn’t on board.
The things out of her mouth were always negative. “The old way was better”. She did this for years while half assed work continued to flow from her desk. She knew that she was dragging everyone that she contacted down. She was miserable. But she refused to look for other options within or without the company, because this is what she had always done. I witnessed a slow descent. Everyone that had been affected by the malady she spread seemed to work like there was slowly less and less purpose to what we did each day.
In the end Brenda was let go. It was the best thing that could have happened to her. In addition everyone who had worked under her was reshuffled and given a new task. Her project was ended and a new approach was taken towards effecting the rest of the desired culture change. How much pain and money would have been saved if the original lost cause was identified and removed right away? Sometimes progress comes from cutting away that which would drag us down a deep and inescapable descent.