June 2: Everything looks like a failure in the middle

Ever doubt a project mid-implementation?

Source: Harvard Business Review
Published: August 2009

Everything looks like a failure in the middle

Ever doubt a project mid-implementation?

According to Kanter’s Law, major changes look like failure in the middle. Initiatives run into trouble when momentum slows and conflicts surface. 

“Everyone loves inspiring beginnings and happy endings; it is just the middles that involve hard work.” – Rosabeth Kanter, Harvard Business School Professor 

In moments of doubt, leaders should:

  • Tune in to the environment. What’s changed since the project began? Is the problem still relevant?

  • Check the vision. Is the idea still exciting? (e.g., re-read the PR/FAQ as a team)

  • Examine progress. Are there early measurable indicators of success? 

  • Search for synergies. Can the initiative bolster other internal or external projects?

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