Unfortunately, no surprises–we’re all in this together.

With predictable regularity the business press can be counted on to run feature articles that “change is hard” and “most change management initiatives are very expensive and time consuming yet fail.” These pieces are usually accompanied by tips for creating the right change environment so that the reader’s company succeeds with its change management strategies.
In an election cycle that seemed to have started the day after John McCain conceded in 2008, after billions of dollars spent, and public opinion polls consistently showing politicians–of all stripes–are less popular than wicked storms on the east coast, the same population that doesn’t successfully implement business change management programs voted to keep the governmental status quo.
The House of Representatives, Senate and Executive branches of government will look rather identical to the very group we overwhelmingly find distasteful. From my experience leading business transformation across a range of industries this, sadly, comes as no surprise.
The barrier keeping companies from realizing change management objectives is rarely a matter of sound process and subject matter expertise. Rather, it is the people and lack of purposeful determination to make an occasional sacrifice, grow, adapt and learn for the benefit of an organization (and, more importantly, an individual’s career). When I initially assess a company, the vast majority of its time functional managers are certain their department runs superbly, but can point out shortcomings everywhere else in the organization. Senior executives and boards are usually right there with them, convinced they are brilliantly leading the business, only to be undermined by a lousy workforce, unfair (foreign) competition, or government.
Our public opinion polls might express strong desire to replace under performing politicians, but our votes say “my guy’s great, yours is the problem.” These are the same sentiments and actions I routinely see and fight through in the workplace. The same strategies and tactics I employ in business apply to voting and all other phases of life: It starts and ends with what you see in the mirror.
Shortly after Ohio was called for President Obama he tweeted, “We’re all in this together.” For the health of our nation and vibrancy of our economy, let’s do more than hope this is more meaningful than “another Twinkie.”
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