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The Nature of Setbacks

We focus our discussion on two types of setbacks which we refer to as typical setbacks and derailers. Both types of setbacks are important, but the approaches for managing them are quite different. Typical setbacks threaten the success of revolutionary change efforts, but they can be anticipated and planned for. Derailers also threaten change efforts, but they can’t be anticipated. This section explores how to manage both types of setbacks and informs the recommendations that follow.

Typical Setbacks

We define typical setbacks as routine occurrences that affect ...


Cover of Choosing Change: How Leaders and Organizations Drive Results One Person at a Time


It helps to "know thy enemy"—in this case, to recognize the types of setbacks you'll probably run into during your change initiative. Each requires a different approach to prevent it from undermining your efforts.