Change Initiatives – Managing self-fulfilling prophecy

In a previous post on taking initiatives to advance your career, I had discussed about handling peers when you take initiatives because they may cause your initiatives to fail. Here I want to talk about another phenomenon that one needs to be aware of. Here is the term I use to describe it: self-fulfilling prophecy.

Wikipedia describes it this way:

A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.

In organizations, this is seen most commonly as resistance to change (in process, strategy, technology, etc.). All changes are hard, and organization-wide changes are very hard. Successful changes require 100% commitment and support from 100% of team members and leaders, which is obviously very hard to achieve. This means that every change initiative will have a set of dissenters. Here are typical behaviors dissenters show: Continue reading