Campaigning for Change by: Larry Hirschhorn

1 04 2010

There are times when everyone needs to change in one way or another, but change is always easier said than done.  This is also true for change within the organization.  As a result, “to bring order to the chaos, organize the effort into three coordinated campaigns: political, marketing, and military.”

Political Campaign

Forge Alliances

Politicians form alliances with people to support their campaign, but these relationships vary at different stages in the process.  There will also be variations in business that will cause the organization to change.

For example, Hewlett-Packard’s campaign was to improve service and customize products, but this differentiation tactic was not effective after a time.  HP realized that they had to focus more on the individual needs of customers and needed to change their course of action to this new strategy.

Marketing Campaign


The executives must communicate the benefits of their change efforts.  It is also important for them to listen to ideas for change that are from the employees.  This will help them feel involved in the process to learn and improve the company to keep the employee’s participation. 

Develop a Theme

Each change initiative needs a clearly articulated theme that employees at all levels of the organization can respond to.  The goal is to build energy behind the process of change to learn and grow together in order to improve the organization.

Military Campaign

Overcome resistance by having a resilient group of committed people working on a project together with the goal of turning resistance into cooperation.

Create a War Room

A war room will create an environment that helps people focus on one topic, but it is also a place that encourages people to consider all the forces that affect that one topic.  This allows constructive conflict to occur in order to make changes that will help with the process of change within the organization.

These three campaigns are inter-related and change can fail when all three do not occur.  No political campaign?  You risk being undermined.  No marketing campaign?  Your leader will be seen as a social engineer that is out of touch with his or her employees.  No military campaign?  The change initiative can stall even after successful projects.




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