Who Killed Change?

Every day organizations around the world launch change initiatives – often big, expensive ones – designed to improve the status quo. According to leadership expert Ken Blanchard, 50 to 70 percent of these change efforts fail. A few perish suddenly, but many die painful, protracted deaths that drain the organization’s resources, energy, and morale.

In his book “Who Killed Change?” Blanchard offers a murder mystery setting investigating the death of another change. One by one, a list of thirteen suspects are interviewed, with the startling conclusion: they all contribute to the change process.

  • Culture-the predominate attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that characterize change
  • Commitment-a person’s motivation and confidence to engage in new behavior required by the change initiative
  • Sponsorship-senior leader who has formal authority to deploy resources toward change initiative
  • Change Leadership Team-group of leaders with day-to-day responsibilities for executing change leadership strategies
  • Communication-effective communication is critical
  • Urgency-why change is needed and how quickly people must change
  • Vision-clear and compelling vision allows people to see themselves succeeding
  • Plan-a plan is important, but the process of planning is even more so
  • Budget-analyze change from financial perspective, allocating limited resources to ensure healthy return on investment
  • Trainer-provides learning experiences to develop skills needed to lead change
  • Incentive-reinforces the desired behaviors and results that enable change
  • Performance management-process that sets goals and expectations regarding behavior and results
  • Accountability-process of following through with people to ensure behaviors and results are in line with agreed upon goals and expectations

Blanchard’s bottom line: Change can be successful only when the usual characters in an organization combine their unique talents and consistently involve others in initiating, implementing, and sustaining change.

 Change is a very present reality in today’s culture – and in churches just like yours. How are you dealing with change in your church? Are you part of the process that will make change succeed? Or are you one of the suspects that will contribute to its death?



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