John P. Kotter, professor of leadership at Harvard Business School says that organizational change efforts often fail, and for good reason.
Although the need for change is widely recognized and acknowledged, the reality of creating that change, and more importantly, making the change “stick” are extremely difficult. Kotter details eight common errors in organizational change efforts:
1. Allowing too much complacency
2. Failing to create a sufficiently powerful guiding coalition
3. Underestimating the power of vision
4. Undercommunicating the vision
5. Permitting obstacles to block the vision
6. Failing to create short term wins
7. Declaring victory too soon
8. Neglecting to anchor changes firmly in the corporate culture.
As economic developers, we need to guard against these factors, as they can hobble our change efforts in ED organizations.