Change Initiatives

Change Initiatives.

The Center for Creative Leadership published a study of six public and nonprofit organizations to determine how the roles of leaders influenced the success or failure of the change implementation. The study indicated that between 66 and 75% of those change efforts failed and identifies the reasons for the failure.  One of the main reasons identified by the study is “Insufficient advocacy for the change or failure to understand responsibilities in the change initiative” (Key and Newcomer, 2008). The study also identified several key strategies for leading organizational change to engender greater success.

The article accurately identified the number one reason for failure of change initiatives in public and nonprofit organization as “insufficient advocacy for the change or failure to understand responsibilities in the change initiative.”  This lack of understanding of the leaders role in transformation of any organization is normally the reason such efforts fail.  In his book Out of the Crisis, W. E. Deming named his first of fourteen points for management as “Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.” and his second point directly challenges management to “Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.”

It is the leader’s job to assess the need for change and communicate it effectively to everyone in the organization to create understanding and the critical mass needed to sustain the change effort.  Top leaders must be fully committed to any change effort to ensure its success.  The organizational image of managing change must also be understood and communicated to everyone.  The leader must show the way through their commitment and energy in “providing vision and meaning to our staff so that their identity becomes closely associated with the organization is a further activity we are likely to pursue” (Palmer, Dunford, and Akin 2009).

Kee, J., & Newcomer, K.. (2008). Why Do Change Efforts Fail? Public Manager, 37(3), 5-12.  Retrieved December 16, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1592581511).

Deming, W. E. (1990), Out of the Crisis (2nd Ed.) Boston: MIT Press.

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