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Change Failure?

There continues to be a myriad of “expert” articles published (mostly on the internet of course) quoting numerous statistics about change failure rates. Typically, this apparently popular narrative will state that somewhere between 50-70% of change fails. I’ve said before, I struggle to find any such statistic useful… Knowing that people & organisations can struggle to lead change well is not news. Even knowing those numbers doesn’t help us do anything different!

Periodically, there are some quite interesting reports/surveys conducted (an example) which provides good detail.  However, it’s the headline grabbing “Business change initiatives fail nearly half the time” that seems to get the attention and tends to support the dominant narrative of 50-70% of change fails. It makes for a good headline right? And that’s all it is – an attention grabbing headline. The detail and insight from research & other organisations gets lost. Therein lies the irony…

If we manage change by focussing on the attention grabbing headlines and what others are failing to do then we certainly risk failing in our efforts.

However, if we focus on how we & our organisations can lead our own change and use insight from our own teams, organisation & stakeholders then we certainly increase our chances of being successful in our efforts.

I know which approach I pay most attention to. How about you & your change leaders?


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