Why Things Fail

I’m very proud of our track record with our long-term consulting clients. We find that 85% of them get more financial and human resources and internal organizational stature as a result of our collaborations. In addition, they experience increases in their grassroots volunteer influence and PAC receipts. They know how to execute.

But join me on the dark side for a moment. Lots of organizations that attempt change are unsuccessful. They don’t execute well. Here are the reasons, in no particular order. I started out with about seven and could not stop myself:

1. Following the fad du jour

2. No success metrics

3. No agreement on success metrics

4. No results requested, just the jejune “deliverables” and tasks

5. Initiative is the pet project of a manager outside of the government relations shop

6. Thinking all input is equal (see #5 above). (There’s a reason some of us are not on the “engineering task force” or audit committee, if you know what I mean)

7. Excessive political partisanship on the part of a vocal team member

8. No sustainability plan

9. No long-term reinforcement of staff and volunteer behaviors that are needed to support the new direction

10. No adjustments made for organizational culture or beliefs

(This is due to the dreaded “copying and stealing” of others’ ideas, usually from conferences. I’m not averse to adapting ideas and testing them in your environment. What I’m referring to here is talking points, PAC recruitment materials, grassroots tool kits, brochures, etc., purloined from colleagues word for word. (I’ve seen it.) It shows your lack of ingenuity and hence value to your organization.Think about it. OK, I’m stepping down from the soapbox!)

11. No persuasion of participants responsible for helping implement and communicate the change, just compliance.