How to sabotage a change programme in 7 easy steps

In consulting, we love to talk about Change Management. What it is. What the benefits are. Why it’s so important. My newsfeed is always full of ideas on making change stick.

Despite this, a lot of people still underestimate how much of an impact the wrong behavior can have on ‘being the change that they want to see’, as Mahatma Ghandi used to say.

So, I thought I would share some experience and list out 7 ways to make a change programme fail:

1. Don’t buy into it. Let’s start with the most important one first. Make sure none of your leaders are engaged in the change that you are trying to embed, and encourage them to actively sabotage it.

2. Don’t set a clear direction or align the objectives of the change to where your business is going. It’s far easier to just go with the flow and be more creative and wild! After all variety is the spice of life.

3. Don’t listen to what your customers are saying. What do they know anyway? Just make the changes and don’t tell them what the changes are. After all you’re helping them not the other way round.

4. Make multiple changes at the same time – its like New Years Resolutions. This year I’m going to eat healthier, exercise more, spend less money, do a new qualification, and be a better parent… AT THE SAME TIME. Even though studies show that that’s never going to happen, try doing them all anyway, everyone is always saying that multitasking is the key to better productivity.

5. Aim high and make the big changes first. Why make small changes that gain buy-in first? They’ll never meet the business case so what’s the point? Instead make everyone nervous and go for the most challenging changes first. You’ll be a hero!

6. Force it on others. Obviously changing is going to be hard and most of the time people won’t like it. This is when you should assert your authority over them and tell them to do it anyway, or else.

7. Develop solutions in isolation. If you have a large function with several teams, only consult some of them. Making the other teams feel isolated just encourages competition and therefore quality must go up.


What other ways can change programmes be sabotaged from your experience?
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