Growth Means Change

by Ian Doescher


I have been at Pivot just over five and half years. Pivot started 11 years ago, so I’ve now been part of Pivot for half of Pivot’s life. When I started, I was employee #9, and as of this week we have 40 employees. As you can imagine, that means there has been a lot of change over the years. I’ve sat in at least six different desks (in two different office buildings), I’ve had three job titles, I’ve seen coworkers come and go (but only a handful—Pivot doesn’t often lose people).

Five and a half years ago, some things were much, much simpler. For example, if I wanted something designed, I walked up to Ryan Wilmot, our one designer at the time (we now have nine), and gave him a sheet of paper with a sketch and some words written down, or maybe I sent him an email with the request. He designed it, it was over. If I had an emergency project, I took it to him, apologized, smiled my nicest, and he did it.

Ahh, how simple.

These days, to manage the time of our NINE designers, we use project management software and have two other staff members dedicated to making sure our production schedules remain timely and efficiently.

Change isn’t easy, folks.

I consider myself a fairly decent technology user. I’m not an early adopter, but I’m not a Luddite, either. I’m the sort of person who tends to understand technology, unlike (for example) my dad. That said, I confess I have not been the most welcoming of this new way of doing things. It’s possible I’ve been led into it kicking and screaming. I see the importance of it, I do, but I still feel the same way about project management software as I do about, say, dental work or cleaning the toilet.

Here’s the other thing, though: Pivot is a much, much stronger agency than we were in May 2010, when I was hired. Change is difficult—as anyone who has had to hear me complain about it knows—but often it happens for a good reason. Often, change happens because we are growing. The old way of doing things no longer fits the new situation. No matter what organization you’re a part of (or what family, or what relationship), it can be sad to think about the old days and fondly remember how much easier or simpler or better it was. Of course, if I really stop and think about it, and if I’m honest, I realize I am just glorifying the past. Were things at Pivot really that much simpler five and a half years ago? Of course not.

Much ink has been spilled trying to help people cope with organizational change, and I won’t pretend to have any answers. My best advice is simply “Grin and bear it” or maybe “This too shall pass,” neither of which is particularly helpful. But in my better moments, when I’m not dwelling on the inconvenience of change, I’m able to see that, frequently, change happens because of growth. The opposite of that is definitely true: growth requires change. May all of us have that calmer, wiser perspective on change, even if we would rather grumble!

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