I needed to walk a few blocks after a snowstorm and was grateful that someone had gone before me to create a path…
…until I started walking. It turns out that it is more difficult to walk in someone’s footsteps than it is to traverse on fresh powder. The previous impressions are uneven and spaced at different intervals than my gait, requiring greater effort to move forward compared to walking on the edges where the snow was untouched.
I think it is like that in organizations, too – it is easier to create a new path than to attempt to make progress by remaining in the ruts.
Keep this in mind when you are hesitant to go first. Blazing a trail sounds difficult, but it is actually the worn path that impedes progress.