Inspectioneering Journal

Why Change Efforts Fail and What to Do About It

By Stephen Thomas, Change Management Subject Matter Expert at PK Companies. This article appears in the July/August 2018 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.


New technological innovations are taking hold throughout industry.  For organizations that are implementing these tools, the potential for vast improvement in both effectiveness and efficiency is obvious.  However, embracing and implementing these applications can cause a major change in how work is conducted. The result is that many of these initiatives, despite the enormous value that they can add to the work effort, fail.  The reason behind these failures is often the organization’s culture and its inability to adopt and adapt to new concepts. This is clearly reflected in a quotation by Niccolò Machiavelli (1469 – 1527) in his book The Prince.  In this book he clearly stated why change efforts fail.

“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones. ”

Take a moment to think about the implications encompassed in this quotation.  If you do you will see that trying to initiate change does not make you popular with those who have done well working within the existing process, and at best you can expect limited support from those who think they may do well in the new one.  In the end, the support you are going to get to make changes may be tenuous at times. This is the organization’s culture at work; preserving the old ways because those involved were successful, rewarded and even promoted within that culture.


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Comments and Discussion

Posted by Rajaram Chidambaram on October 17, 2018
Excellent article. I have been involved in change... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

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