The fact that you have picked up this book means you have a major change initiative coming up and you are looking for guidance, you have been part of a change initiative in the past that failed to accomplish its intended goal, or you are intrigued by the premise of becoming a Great Change Leader. In any case, I am honored you chose my book, and my hope is you will learn some things in it that will make the difference between change success and change failure for you and your organization.
Studies done 25 years ago on the effectiveness of organizations implementing change initiatives revealed that many are not particularly good at it. Actually, many were terrible at it. It showed that 70% of all change initiatives failed to accomplish their intended result. Since then, there have been thousands of books and articles written on the subject as well as seminars and classes taught to help business leaders navigate through organizational change. And with all those books and resources on the subject, we have moved the needle on this effort zip, nada, zero.
Studies today show that change initiatives still fail 70% of the time. There are undoubtedly many reasons for this—some obvious, and some not so obvious. The pace of business today moves at light speed and many leaders are impatient and willing to cut corners when it comes to doing things the right way. Others are lost, not even knowing where to start.
My approach to this subject is a bit different than most. Now let me be clear, I am not saying I have all the answers and you will be guaranteed success if you follow the plan set out in this book. But my emphasis, rather than focused on the process of change itself, is on you, the leader.
There are definite character traits and skills that set leaders apart who can successfully lead people through change. They are the 30% leaders—those who refuse to fall into the 70% failure rate. By focusing on you as a Great Change Leader, the attention now moves to people, rather than process. After all, it is the people who determine the success or failure of any change initiate. The best plans in the world are just words on a piece of paper without good people and great leaders to implement them.
I first fell in love with this topic when I was tapped to participate on a project team which was charged with developing a change management training program for a Fortune 500 company about eight years ago. I worked with some great team members and we created a great curriculum. I then had the privilege of traveling from site to site across the U.S. and Canada to train the leadership of the company in this program. It was through these encounters that I learned it was the leader and not the curricula that really made the difference between success and failure.
I began researching this topic on my own and I worked with business leaders across multiple industries to help them steer their companies through the sometimes choppy waters of organizational change; and I have seen some great accomplishments along the way. Sure, there have been some failures, too; but those are simply learning opportunities I get to pass on to you though this book.
I honestly believe you can learn what it takes to become a Great Change Leader and be a difference maker for your company. I also believe you do not have to be a high-level manager or leader in your organization to be a difference maker. Lead from where you are, and the higher-ups will notice.
So, let’s start our journey together. At the end of each section of this book, you will see a QR code that will take you to a video of me discussing the previous section and what you can expect in the next. So, you see, we truly are taking this trip together. Now let’s go change the world one team, one department, and one company at a time!