The Harvard Business Review reports that at least 70% of all change efforts fail. Why is that? Leading change, as a means to avoiding past failures or replicating past successes is a futile effort, as C.G. Jung wrote, “that which we resist, persists.”

Why is leading change so difficult?

Something at a deep basic level is at play here. Perhaps resisting change is a way to protect us, help us to survive. Survival of continuity, control, our opinion, and even our point of view. Simply said, change is everywhere, and the rate of change is accelerating at break-neck speed, globally.

Who starts leading change?

It all starts with you and what you say about change. My grandmother wisely used to say,  “choose your words carefully – they are very powerful, and once spoken, they can’t be revoked.” What if, rather than worry, fear, and concern, leading change evokes discovery, newness, possibility, and a future that’s exciting and inspiring?

Three steps to leading change

During times of constant change, people hear only a fraction of what is communicated. Become facile at communicating about change at least 10 times, in at least 10 different ways. 

  • Start by leading yourself to speak about change in a new, compelling and inspiring context.
  • Communicate your context for change repeatedly
  • Be authentic and consistent in your message, while varied in your approach (e.g. setting context at the beginning of each meeting, sending emails to reinforce the change, Town Halls or “Listening Cafes” to discuss the change)

Are you going to lead the way, follow, or be left behind? The choice is yours.

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