Chapter 1People Don't Like Change

‘The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.’

Charles Kettering1

A cartoon image depicting a person who is addressing a crowd. At the top, the person is asking “who wants change?” and the people in the crowd have raised their hands in the reply. At the bottom, the same person is asking the same question, and in reply no has raised the hand.


The over-riding conundrum that change leaders must continually confront is that we humans simply do not want to change.

And yet we have to.

Companies certainly have to change constantly – or there is a very real danger that they will cease to exist. Does anyone remember Netscape and its once-dominant Navigator web browser that Microsoft saw off with Internet Explorer 20 years ago?

Or PanAm, once the world's premier international airline? Polaroid? Circuit City? Borders? Blockbuster? Enron, Eastern Airlines, TWA, MCI Worldcom, Compaq, Woolworths (both the US and UK varieties), Standard Oil, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Arthur Andersen, General Foods, HMV, Kodak, Game, Clinton Cards, Jessops, Comet, Zavvi (nee Virgin Megastore), Ansett Airlines, British Leyland, Rover, NPI, Telewest, Northern Rock, RBS, BHS2 … an infinitesimally small selection of the brands and companies that either no longer exist or are shadows of their former selves.

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