Organizations Hate Insights

They say that 80% of change projects fail, and by ‘they‘ I mean the bigwig consultants and Dr Google. Ask her*.

Let’s worry not about citation. Instead, why the heck do so many change projects fail?!

Here’s my process rough draft:

  • Hey, something’s not right.
  • We need to do something! [be more efficient / become more innovative / downsize.]
  • Let’s investigate what we might need to do.
  • Insight! <Light bulb moment from contemplation / investigation>
  • Oh. It really means that?
  • Hmmm. Let’s rethink this into something more palatable / an existing framework.
  • Yes! That makes sense, right? Right?
  • OK, let’s implement that.
  • Hmmm, why didn’t the change work?

Insight is a dangerous thing. It subverts. It takes us in tangential directions. Organizations dislike insight, inherently.

Seeing What Others Don’t has more detail:

Insight is the opposite of predictable. Insights are disruptive. They come without warning, take forms that are unexpected, and open up unimagined opportunities. They are disorganizing. Insights disrupt progress reviews because they reshape tasks and even revise goals. They carry risks —unseen pitfalls that can get managers in trouble.

The (natural?) consequence? Do something else; a watered down version; maybe even the wrong thing…

←This Much We Know.→

*This is my way, today, of not citing the McKinsey or Deloitte report where that data comes from. I have the citation somewhere, but, today, like I said, I can’t be bothered to cite. Take it as gospel.

8 thoughts on “Organizations Hate Insights

  1. What is interesting is that it is usually the big consulting firms to which you have referred that are the ones implementing overarching “change management” initiatives for big bucks. So if their own studies show that 80% of such initiatives fail, I wonder if they will offer their clients a refund?

    Oh well, I guess that they can blame the client for the failures, falling back on Gleicher’s Formula as an excuse. . .

    1. I do not think there is enough honesty about change – that it is almost impossible to do 100%; nor transparency about the impacts on people; nor energy to make change and disruption an integral part of the day-to-day work.

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