Driving Change? How Not to Crash and Burn

Strategic Communications

September 21, 2015

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With so much insight and advice available on leading change, why do most corporate road trips to a desired future state end in shards of glass and twisted steel?

That’s a question corporate executives are obsessing over more and more, judging from the volumes being written about managing the people side of change. Over the past 25 years, as organizations have embraced change management broadly as a discipline, a host of scholars, sages and scoundrels have weighed in with advice. We now know a lot about why individuals and organizations change. Or don’t.

Yet whether we call it “change,” “transition,” or “transformation,” and whether we propose to lead it or manage it, studies repeatedly show that change initiatives fail 50 to 70 percent of the time—an atrocious record that hasn’t budged over the past decade. What gives?

It often comes down to the quality of executive sponsorship.

Each initiative is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all model that will work every time. We often make it harder than it has to be, however.

Change is a journey that never ends. If you’re leading change, here’s how to increase your chances of ending up in a better place than where you started.


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