are 12 key questions that can help you decide whether it should be shut down or helped through the messy middle:
- Are the initial reasons for the effort still valid, with no consequential external changes?
- Do the needs for which this a solution remain unmet, or are competing solutions still unproven or inadequate?
- Would the situation get worse if this effort stopped?
- Is it more cost-effective to continue than to pay the costs of restarting?
- Is the vision attracting more adherents?
- Are leaders still enthusiastic, committed, and focused on the effort?
- Are resources available for continuing investment and adjustments?
- Is skepticism and resistance declining?
- Is the working team motivated to keep going?
- Have critical deadlines and key milestones been met?
- Are there signs of progress, in that some problems have been solved, new activities are underway, and trends are positive?
- Is there a concrete achievement — a successful demonstration, prototype, or proof of concept?
If the answers trend toward No, as seems likely for Airtime, then cut your losses and move on. Persistence doesn't mean being pig-headed.
"You've got to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them," Kenny Rogers sang in a famous song about playing poker. That's good advice for any leader struggling with change. It's a mistake to give up prematurely, because the middle is always messy. But be sure to heed the 12 guidelines to choose between persistence or pulling out.