Making Change STICK

April 2021 | By Delores (Dee) Conway

When I was a young girl, my mother would throw a strand of cooked spaghetti at the wall to see if it would stick. If it stuck, then the spaghetti was done.

Unfortunately, that’s how some leaders approach change! They initiate a change effort, sponsor it, sanction change teams, and may bring in consultants to help design the change. Then, they throw the change against the wall. . . and hope it sticks . . . and, in their minds, the change is “done.”

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These leaders see their role as “change agents” merely because they initiated a change. They rely on visionary speeches to drive the change (yawn). They count on handouts and email reminders to motivate people to change (hit delete). They rely on “people’s mindset” to change automatically (in their dreams). And, hope for the best.

Of course, it doesn’t work. Chalk up another failed initiative.

Leaders must lead change . . . from beginning to end

A well-designed solution and systematic rollout are a start. But they won’t make the spaghetti stick to the wall. Change management experts typically add these critical elements:

  • A sophisticated plan to sell the benefits and make the change stick: what’s in it for each employee, and what must they do?
  • Clear guidance to leaders on managing the inevitable employee resistance to the change

But to create deep ownership, sustain a change initiative, and get the targeted impact from the change, leaders must lead it from beginning to end. This means preparing leaders to lead change, not just in their areas, but collaborating across the enterprise.

Many organizations fail in implementing change because they miss a very critical element: They don't define the highest-impact actions their leaders need to take.  These are actions that link directly to the targeted result, and leverage powerful reinforcers, like day-to-day feedback to people on how they are doing implementing the change.

When leaders own the change from beginning to end, they create deep ownership across the organization. It’s this ownership that powerfully drives sustainability of the change effort.

So, how do you lead change from beginning to end?

There is a way to lead change that has been proven in Fortune 100 multinationals. It’s a model for successful change developed by behavioral and organizational scientists through decades of research and development. It is called the MAKE-IT® Model. It structures change in five stages:



These five stages of the MAKE-IT Model give clear direction for leading change, from making it possible through making it last:

  MAKE-IT® Model for
Making Change “Stick”


Align leadership on the change

Leaders align with other leaders across the enterprise, agreeing on their end-to-end roles and responsibilities in making the change happen (not just nodding heads in agreement)

Make it CLEAR

Align organization on the change

Leaders communicate a personalized Case for Change to stakeholders and ensure next-level leaders do the same.

Make it REAL

Prepare organization for the change

Leaders define the critical few behaviors of people that will most profoundly drive the change and get the desired results.

Make it HAPPEN


Leaders reinforce the critical few behaviors, hold teams accountable for progress on both those behaviors and results metrics, and celebrate the wins.

Make it LAST

Sustain the change

Leaders fine-tune business management and HR systems to sustain new behaviors and results.

Don’t just delegate—Lead!

When leaders lead change versus delegating change—

  • They are confident that other leaders throughout the organization are aligned and set up for success
  • They are confident that their messages, all down through the leadership spine, will inspire people to do the right things
  • They know how to bring about behavior change for positive and lasting results
  • They have tools in place to monitor the needed behavior changes and the actual results
  • They will be confident that new processes and behaviors are embedded in the culture, and will perpetuate despite turnover

Making your change “stick to the wall”

The Make-It Model helps make your change stick to the wall—making your change Possible, Clear, Real, Happen—and Last. The model is a key tool in ALULA’s Leader-Led Change® protocol, used by major corporations worldwide.

Want to learn more?

Test your ability to lead organizational change well.  Download the free Change Management Self-Check to learn:

  • Where you stand against the common pitfalls toward changing performance
  • Identify where you'll be able to make the most gains when planning, managing, and leading organizational change

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Author Dee Conway is a much-requested consultant and executive coach, bringing her dynamic personality and contagious enthusiasm to work she loves: improving leaders’ performance and company culture.   She has deep expertise in working with Senior Leaders in implementing large-scale change initiatives while improving leadership team dynamics using a scientifically proven behavioral approach.   She has coached 200+ leaders domestically and internationally across widely varied companies.  Dee is an expert leader/facilitator of ALULA’s PBL® (Performance-Based Leadership) and Leader-Led Change® methodologies.

© 2021 ALULA. All rights reserved. ALULA®, MAKE-IT ® Model, PBL®, and Leader-Led Change® are registered service marks of CLG (dba ALULA).


Topics: Change, Leader-Led Change