The Ubiquitous Statistic

“70 percent of change initiatives fail.”

I have heard this statistic a hundred times – and have no idea where it came from. (FYI – when I researched it, I ended up in an online, space-time continuum.)*

However, I sifted through a lot of data that suggest why a lot of change initiatives fail. Here is what it boils down to:

Change initiatives require changed behavior.

To lose 30 pounds, we have to close the Haagen-Daz lid at the very moment when we really want to cozy up with a half-pint.

Businesses also have things that feel good, but aren’t necessary good for the business. In a time of economic flux, doing things “the way we’ve always done them” is at the top of the list.

And just like we try to kid ourselves about one more spoonful – we also like to hope that a little more effort, a little more push, a little more tweaking or number crunching will fix things. We keep looking for the magic bullet, or hold out, waiting for things to normalize.

Well, guess what?

Waiting is creating the new normal. Whether we are cynical or hopeful, sitting is still sitting. Tick-Tock.

Which is why a lot of businesses are clamoring for assertive leadership, more accountability, bias for action, innovation, candor in communication, and big-picture, out-of-the box thinking.

For a company to break through an old paradigm its key influencers must experience the ability to view their roles and situations differently, to establish a common vision, and execute. They also need a strong ability to engage the intellectual capital, strengths, and commitment of others.

Perhaps what the alleged 30 percent knows that the majority does not is that it deep change requires a movement, which really involves an organization full of leaders. And what that means is that we’ve got a group of people ready and willing to try on new behavior for a worthy goal.

*PS – If you know where this stat came from, please comment – thanks!


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