Change Has A lifecycle. You Need To Learn It.

When a transformational initiative fails, it’s often said that it was because people don’t like change. That’s not really true. Everywhere I go in the world, no matter what type of group I’m speaking to, people are enthusiastic about some kind of change. It’s other people’s ideas for change that they aren’t so crazy about.

Senior leaders love to tell me about their inspired visions for their enterprise, but complain that they can’t get the rank-and-file to go along. Middle managers complain that they are bursting with ideas, but can’t get the bosses to go along. As failed initiatives pile up, people talk past each other and change fatigue sets in.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are natural laws that govern change and these laws can be learned and applied by anyone. The problem is that managers don’t study change the same way they study finance, or marketing, or strategy. Business schools don’t teach it as a discipline. But change has a lifecycle that we can learn to manage and exploit.

Perhaps most importantly, we need to remind ourselves that transformation is a journey, not a destination. Whatever impact you seek to make is far more likely to be a marathon than a sprint. No defeat or victory is final. The road is long and, to travel it effectively, you need to learn to recognize and anticipate the various twists and turns.