The Insanity of Change Management

March 18, 2010

I’ve been thinking recently about definition of insanity attributed to Albert Einstein: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The way we have been approaching change perhaps doesn’t qualify as insane, but it begs the question whether conventional change management methodologies need some serious innovation.

For example, consider the 2008 McKinsey survey of 3199 executives around the world. They found, as John Kotter did in his research revealed in his book, Leading Change (1996), that only 30% of change programs succeed. Yikes! Same results 10+ years later! Now you can see why I’m thinking about Albert Einstein… doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Since Kotter’s book on leading change, thousands of books and articles have been published; courses and certifications dedicated to managing change have been delivered. And, despite prolific output in the change management field, the results remain the same. Only one in three programs succeed…