7Leadership Support

THERE'S AN AGE-OLD riddle that goes something like this: “If a change initiative launches in an organization but no leader is there to drive it, does it make an impact?” Alright, we might have stolen that from our colleagues in philosophy, but it does highlight a painful truth that's all too familiar for change managers. Even when you do everything right, change initiatives can still seem to fail due to a thousand reasons, it seems. This makes it near impossible to identify what exactly went wrong. However, during the 40 interviews we conducted for this book, there was one element that never remained unspoken: the role of leadership in driving change.

Imagine you are leading a project to implement a new customer relationship management (CRM) system in a large organization. You have done all the necessary research, engaged stakeholders at every level, carefully crafted a plan to ensure a smooth rollout, and have been working tirelessly to execute it. However, despite your best efforts, the initiative fails to gain traction because one or more senior leaders do not provide the support this project needs. This is usually reflected in other change areas such as stakeholder engagement, planning and risk, or narrative and communication. It could be that they do not fully understand the benefits of the new system, or they feel like they're too busy to role-model the change themselves and try to delegate it. Without their support and involvement, your carefully ...

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