Why did you write a book about change?
The host of a recent radio interview was being polite and, I suspect, genuinely interested. But the question is an important one—a quick search on Amazon.com found over 150,000 book titles that have something to do with change.
Let’s assume that some of those titles are duplicates for hardcover, paperback, Kindle, etc. That still leaves thousands of books written on the subject. Aren’t those enough?
The short answer is, “No.”
Research published by John Kotter in 1995 stated that 70 percent of change efforts fail to achieve their desired goal. Since that time, the number of books, articles, training videos, seminars, and speeches about change has exploded.
I’m guessing that you have attended more presentations where the subject was change than you can remember.
So what results did we achieve from all of our focus on change?
In 2013, 18 years after Kotter’s study, every indication is that the vast majority of change efforts—as high as 70 percent by some reports—fail to achieve their desired goal.
That’s right. There has been basically a whopping 0 percent improvement in our collective ability to effectively initiate and implement change.
We can now conclude that all of our attention and focus on change hasn’t really changed our ability to successfully implement change in organizations.
So here are the reasons why I wrote Make Change Work, and more important, why you need to get really good at change in your business and your life:
- The kiss of death in your business and your career is being irrelevant. Your competitors are working every day to deliver results that are faster, better, cheaper, and friendlier than you. If you can’t change, you will cease to be relevant.
- The people and businesses who can make change work without all of the pain and drama that most of us have encountered will have a competitive advantage. The imperative to change isn’t just about survival. It is about winning.
- Leaders with the ability to build a nimble team that is engaged and focused on continually getting better will see their opportunities expand.
Strap yourself in. The future is going to present you with more opportunities, threats, and challenges that require change than you can imagine. And, you can’t do what you need to do or be what you need to be as a leader unless you can make change work.