Ten Rules for Stifling Change

Rosabeth Moss Kanter

"The Change Masters"

  1. Regard any new idea from below with suspicion - because it is new and because it is from below.
  2. Insist that people who need your approval to act first go through several other layers of management to get their signatures.
  3. Ask departments or individuals to challenge and criticise each other's proposals.
  4. Express your criticisms freely and withhold your praise (that keeps people on their toes). Let them know they can be fired at any time.
  5. Treat problems as a sign of failure.
  6. Control everything carefully. Count anything that can be counted, frequently.
  7. Make decisions to reorganise or change policies in secret and spring them on people unexpectedly (that also keeps people on their toes).
  8. Make sure that any request for information is fully justified and that it isn't distributed too freely (you don't want data to fall into the wrong hands).
  9. Assign to lower-level managers, in the name of delegation and participation, responsibility for figuring out how to cut back, lay off or move people around.
  10. Above all, never forget that you, the higher-ups, already know everything important about this business.

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