May 9, 2007

Changing change

A cliché about change in organizations is that around 70 percent of all change efforts in organizations fail. I don't quite believe this. In fact, I know it is not true (more about that in a later post, I promise) but I do agree that change initiatives in organizations frequently disappoint. Some people fatalistically claim that organizational change is bound to fail because of the resistant nature of people. This is another cliché I don't buy: that people hate change by definition. I think it would be at least as fair to say that people have a natural and more or less permanent desire for change. So, what clues are there about making organizational change more successful? I speculate that there are five shifts away from the traditional approaches to change which are shown in the table presented here. The right column shows some of the essential features of the solution-focused approach (as I see it, of course). Without saying that the conventional approaches should be abondonned altogether, I predict that a shift along all these five dimensions in the direction of the solution-focused end, in most cases will increase the likelyhood of success.

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