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A few months ago I came across Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip of the Day: “3 Ways to Quietly Promote Change“. This article is grounded in the belief that 70% of all corporate change initiatives fail. It also promotes Harvard Business Review’s book “HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Change” – a collection of articles designed to help executives lead organization’s through transformation.
The title of the article should have been “How to Sneak Change in While No One is Looking” and the more I thought about it, the more I began to wonder why are we so afraid of promoting change openly. Of course my first thought went to the strong headwinds that President Obama has faced in his effort to change the way our government functions in this country. But is opposition to change a reason to try to manipulate it quietly, rather than promote it openly?
There are any number of reasons people are afraid of change:
- Fear of the unknown.
- Self doubt.
- Fear of what others will say or think.
- There is comfort in the familiar.
- Failure to see “what’s in it for me”.
While there are probably others…along with variations on these themes, these are the ones I see play out most often in the corporate world. While I agree with HBR’s premise that “change is a multi-stage process…not an event”, I’m not sure that quiet persuasion is the best way to ensure successful change. What do you think?