I was very fortunate to have, as my examiner for my PhD, Professor George Gallup who was the inventor of market research and universally admired founder of The Gallup Poll at Princeton. He wrote about why leaders have an in-built logical reluctance towards change in The Miracle Ahead (Harper & Row NY 1964):

Change cannot be brought about easily by leaders, except in those situations in which the changes advocated do not disturb the present relationships. In fact, it is the leaders who typically become the most bitter and the most effective foes of change.

The public must take the initiative and assume responsibility for progress in the affairs of man. The public must force change upon its leaders who command more respect today than perhaps they deserve. The leader is expert in his or her small world as it presently exists, not expert in the world as it might exist.

Although the leader plays an important part in modern society, it is not realistic to expect him or her to advocate change. This is the surest way for that leader to lose his or her status. The hope of the future rests with the citizen also known as, the customer.

To be effective the citizen/customer must be well-informed, and she or he must discover better ways of making better use of her own great capacities and those of her friends. Citizens or customers cannot expect their leaders to give them much help in their upward march.

4 thoughts on “GALLUP: Why leaders don’t really want change.

  1. Interesting comments and I agree with them. If change is going to damage the status quo for the wealthy and the powerful you can be sure they’ll resist it with all of that wealth and power.

  2. The insight here is deep. …..The hope of the future rests with the citizen also known as, the customer.

  3. Hardly anything can be added to these words to the wise. Since change means change, any person in the position of power can only shiver when hearing that word. It heralds his or her way out.

  4. Thank providence that our baby boomer generation provided the internet for free communication – we are only just starting to to see the effects of this in all aspects of society – the views of us all are more visible more quickly than ever before – the imposition of the means of controlling thought by tying up the media is obviously becoming less and less relevant – witnessing its destruction is interesting and very liberating and involves lots of humor as often they can’t see how they are being marginalized – though the share prices reflect the constant movement away from the business models the moguls have controlled for decades. leaders need to listen to the pulse much more than before – roll on a system of accountability delivered to us all free on the internet!

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