The surprise

I spend most of my career in industry first as an engineer, later as a manager and executive, and still later consulting. During this time I had the opportunity to introduce many changes in various organizations and had little trouble doing so. When I was invited into academe and asked to teach a course in Change Management, it looked like fun.

As I read materials on the subject, two things became clear: 1) there is a lot of information available about introducing change, which, compared with my personal experience, all seemed correct. And 2) most change initiatives don’t deliver the expected benefits—they fail 70 percent of the time!

That was the surprise!

The good news is that 30 percent of the time the initiatives succeed so some people do know how to lead.

So why the high failure rate?

Because people do not do what the experts teach.

But why don’t they?

I found seven types of leaders who are not likely to use the tools that the experts recommend. Here are two:

1. Leaders who are anxious about the success of the change they are introducing.
2. Leaders who are completely confident of the technology and issues involved.

The other five I call The Hurried Leader, The “Educated” Leader, The Mistrustful Leader, The Uninformed Leader, and The Wrong-Change Leader. The full list is here.

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