Organizations increasingly face complex challenges that require them to transform. But many leaders – who have years of experience, lots of firmly held beliefs, and many well-established behavioral quirks – often struggle to alter their behaviors, break their habits, change their perspectives, and move off their agendas. This can lead organizations to avoid change, resist innovation, and perpetuate the old ways. Others in the organization often know they need to get senior leaders to change but aren’t able to influence them enough and often give up trying.
This struggle reminds us of the memorable adage: “Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig”. Or the even more familiar: “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks”. Setting aside the unflattering comparators, both adages suggest it’s a waste of time to try to change leaders who are set in their ways, even when there’s no viable alternative.
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