I’m not sure exactly why, but it seems that there has been one word repeated incessantly over the last few week: Change. Maybe it’s due to the political season. Possibly it’s due to the initiation of Fall programs. Whatever it is, and wherever it’s used, it seems to carry a sense of urgency. As the comedian, Professor Irwin Corey used to scream, “if we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we’re headed. It’s with that in mind that I was intrigued by an article that I read this morning by Mark Sanborn entitled Why Organizational Change Fails [http://www.maximumimpact.com/articles/read/article_mastering_change_why_organizational_change_fails1]
The article served as a caution: There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things … Sanborn quotes Jean-Jaques Rousseau. I would tend to agree. I’ve discovered the truth of an axiom penned by Havelock Ellis: What we call “progress” is the exchange of one nuisance for another nuisance. Change is not a guarantee of success. Unless it’s done with care, it can result in disaster.
Sanborn’s article provided a good checklist of common faults, or reasons, how failure can occur. Ten reasons in all: 1. Missarts, 2. Making change an option, 3. A focus only on progress, 4. A focus only on results, 5. Not involving those expected to implement change, 6. Delegating change to outsiders, 7. No change in the reward system, 8. Leadership that doesn’t “walk the talk”, 9. Wrong size, 10. No follow-through. It’s an article worth of review. In fact, it might make a good checklist for anyone who is about to launch into a new project.