Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why Change Programs Fail

I'm not sure that I saw anything new in the article touting a fresh approach to change management. It did remind me of an HBR article from a long time ago--"Why Change Programs Fail". The main reasons: they're programs and they're led from the top.

This article seems to fall into that trap. If top management isn't adapting to the change too, then it's doomed to fail. Compliance to the status quo can kill any change. Just look at people's response to needed changes in their lifestyle to improve their health: 70% fail (sound familiar) to make long-lasting changes. And this, despite the medical profession following this article's advice: bring people face-to-face with reality, provide credible evidence of the need for change, frame the change in terms of a cause (like seeing your kids get married).

Too many of us say, "Hey, we've been successful for 50 years. Why change?" And then our business or our leadership has a heart attack. And still we don't change. Instead we ask for a pill to help us, like tax cuts or some other external support, like Six Sigma, which doesn't address the core weaknesses in our operating systems. Most change efforts are like New Year's resolutions: they're good for the short-term, and then it's return to 'normal'.

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