How Do We Really Know that 70% of All Organizational Change Efforts Fail?

Based on my research, experience and learning, here is a list of the reliable sources out there that support the 70% change failure rate. If you have more, please add them to the list of comment/share your thoughts. And if you disagree with the statistic, please share…

… – there are myriad research studies and articles out there citing this data, much of which I became aware of during my OD grad studies and during my earlier years of practice. This figure has remained unbelievably steady over the past 20 years according to the studies back then and the more recent ones of today. My clients also express this high failure rate during my initial OD diagnosis and assessments.

Here are just a few places where you find this statistic:

(1) Beyond the Wall of Resistance: Why 70% of All Changes Still Fail–and What You Can Do About It – authored by Rick Maurer, a renowned change management expert, speaker, and advisor to senior leaders in organizations

(2) John Kotter’s work – renowned change and leadership expert and Harvard University professor

(3) Harvard Business Review’s (HBR) 10 Must Reads on Change. It is one of my favorites and is 220 pages of the best research out there on change. The collective group of authors are:

John P. Kotter, David A. Garvin, Michael A. Roberto, Samuel J. Palmisano, Paul Hemp, Thomas A. Stewart, Debra Meyerson, W. Chan Kim, Renee A. Mauborgne, Dan S. Cohen, Ronald A. Heifetz, Marty Linsky, Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey, Michael Beer, Nitin Nohria, Harold L. Sirkin, Perry Keenan, Alan Jackson, Russell A. Eisenstat, Bert Spector – Source: Harvard Business Press Books
1. pages. Publication date: Jun 07, 2010. Prod. #: 12599-PDF-ENG

(4) Ken Blanchard Leadership Report

(5) A research study by MC Associates

(6) The September 2008 Training & Development article titled “Controlling the Perils of Change” authored by Merry Lee Olson

These are just some on my list of “most informative.”  Do you have others?

Terina Allen
President & CEO, ARVis Institute, LLC
Chair, ARVoices Strategic Leadership Network