Lessons for Change Managers

Counterinsurgency and Change

Lessons for Change Managers

Many publications that deal with overcoming resistance to change are purely aspirational and never really capture what a dirty business it can be.  Throughout the course of my own career I’ve seen change initiatives falter and peter out as a result of a “Let’s Invade Poland and show them who knows best” mentality that gives little or no consideration to those on the ground.

If leaders don’t have the foresight and skill to build up a groundswell of opinion across the board that what they wish to do is a good thing for all concerned they are in trouble and can expect their own little insurgencies.

I came across David Kilcullen in Thomas Ricks’ The Gamble, an excellent account of the planning and execution of the Iraqi War troop surge of 2007.  Kilcullen was a special counterinsurgency adviser to General Petraeus and a key architect of the surge.  Prior to this Kilcullen served in the Australian Army for 21 years and commanded an infantry company in counterinsurgency operations in East Timor.

His doctoral dissertation is a study of Indonesian insurgents and terrorists and counterinsurgency methods and he is the author of the recently published “The Accidental Guerrilla.” In 2006 he published “Twenty Eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-level Counterinsurgency as a training aid for soldiers operating in Iraq.  It’s just eleven pages long and is one of the most worthwhile reads for those involved in effecting change in any environment.

Don’t take it too literally though.  If Eric in accounts won’t budge on the new ERP system leave your gun at home.

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