How leaders can resolve to make change that sticks in 2022

JOSH LEVINE & LINDSEY CAPLAN, JAN 1, 2022: Whether introducing new values, revising a goal-setting process, or implementing a return-to-office plan, half of all change initiatives fail. But it doesn’t have to be that way.



It’s that time of year when we make resolutions. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, only 19% of us keep self-made promises. At work, making changes company-wide is even more challenging. While changing ourselves is tough, attempting to change others is harder, particularly if we’re talking about an entire company. Whether introducing new values, revising a goal-setting process, or implementing a return-to-office plan, half of all change initiatives fail. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re ready to make change stick this year, then here’s what you can resolve to do differently in 2022.


START WITH THE EFFECT “I want my monthly leadership meetings to be successful,” a recent client requested. That’s not an unreasonable goal, but that’s like saying I want my hammer to hammer well. As effective stewards of change, leaders need to ask what we need the hammer to do. Instead of leading with the content (what’s in the email or slide deck) or the tool (a training course or town hall), start by asking what effect we want. Even if we don’t realize it, it’s the effect we’re ultimately after. For example, after surgery, a patient might ask if the procedure went well. What they really want to know is whether their leg is better. If a leader isn’t clear on the need behind the initiative and why it matters, employees won’t understand either.


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