November 22, 2008

Things I didn't know last week - November 22nd 2008 - People know what's wrong but don't change..

This is a post in a regular weekly series about things I've learned or come to realise during the previous week.

This week "People know what's wrong but don't change it"

I posted a question on Linked-In recently about why projects fail. The overwhelming reason that came back was "Lack of Management Buy-in" and "Resistance to change'. These are - effectively - the same problem. So what can we deduce from this?

How about this:

A lot of people know in advance what the problems are going to be and they continue to let those problems rule.

Surely if there is going to be a lack of management buy-in to the change then the business case for the change hasn't been adequately proven. Remember the old IBM advert where the CEO asked the tech guy "Why should we do this?" and the geek responded, hesitantly "Every dollar you invest will save 2 dollars on your bottom line". Now THAT'S a business case that senior management can buy in to. If your project can't put up that sort of business case then you won't get the senior management buy-in and your project will fail.

Resistance to change would seem to be a bigger issue. But looking deeper down we find the same underlying reason.
There is no compelling reason for someone to change
It's a sad state of affairs when people know in advance what is going to cause a problem but will then not do anything about it - or will resign themselves to the fact that the problem is going to occur whether they deal with it or not.

Einstein defined madness as "continuing to do the same thing, hoping for a different outcome". Isn't that exactly what we're doing when we think things will be different, but don't change anything?

To see all the "Things I didn't know" posts, just click here.

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