Myth #1: People and organizations change when they need to. Really? America has one of the highest obesity rates in the world. A lot of people know they need to lose weight. Most don’t. Some people need to stop piling up debt—but they don’t. Organizations have a lot of changes they need to make. But for whatever reason, they don’t get around to it, or when they try, it fizzles out. It takes a lot more than need to drive successful change.
Myth #2: People and organizations change when they want to. Most of those people who need to lose weight actually want to. Enough said?
Myth #3: Fear is an effective means of promoting change. “If you don’t __________, you’ll be fired.” Or, “The plant will close.” What a waste of time. Any change that arises from fear will be short-lived and marginal. It is a sign that bosses and bullies are in charge, not authentic leaders.
Myth #4: A PowerPoint presentation that fully explains the reason will successfully drive change. “If they understand, they’ll be eager to change.” Baloney. Somebody else will be giving reasons for not changing. And what about all the right brain artists out there? They hate PowerPoint presentations.
Myth #5: Casting vision over and over will bring change. This is just hubris on the part of the leader—believing that people will do whatever he/she asks them to do. People and organizations do not change because of somebody else’s vision. However, if it becomes their vision too, then change can happen.
So what will initiate and sustain change? Two things: people and organizations attempt change when they have to, or when they are inspired to. The leader’s job is to inspire it before the have to kicks in. Have to often fizzles out; inspired to has staying power.
It is easier to get married than to stay married. And it is easier to start change than it is to complete it. The leader’s biggest challenge is between the starting point and the finish line. What myth is holding back change in your organization (or your life)?
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Copyright 2017 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
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