Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail

Leading Change- Why Transformation Efforts Fail

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In the past decade, the author has watched more than 100 companies try to remake themselves into better competitors. Their efforts have gone under many banners: total quality management, reengineering, right sizing, restructuring, cultural change, and turnarounds. In almost every case, the goal has been the same: to cope with a new, more challenging market by changing how business is conducted.

A few of those efforts have been very successful. A few have been utter failures. Most fall somewhere in between, with a distinct tilt toward the lower end of the scale. The lessons that can be learned will be relevant to more and more organizations as the business environment becomes increasingly competitive in the coming decade.

One lesson is that change involves numerous phases that, together, usually take a long time. Skipping steps creates only an illusion of speed and never produces a satisfying result. A second lesson is that critical mistakes in any of the phases can have a devastating impact, slowing improvement and negating previous gains. Kotter’s lessons are instructive, for even the most capable managers often make at least one big error.

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