In order to survive and cope up with new challenges in the market place, at some point in its life time, almost every business goes through a very tedious task of change under various names like restructuring, rightsizing, reengineering, turnarounds etc. History shows that only those businesses who were able to change and evolve as per the market realities have been successful while others have failed miserably even though they were pioneers in their fields at some point. There was a time when Nokia, Toshiba and Kodak were top ranked companies and dominated their fields however they failed to embrace the evolving markets and their needs and consequently have become (or are very close to becoming) obsolete.
The only thing that is constant is ‘Change’ and there’s no denying it- change is tough. And when an organization decides it needs to change certain process or systems, it is very common for the employees to feel uncomfortable or even intimidated. According to Rick Maruer, author of the book ‘Beyond the Walls of Resistance’ 70% of the attempts to change organizations fail. Such a high failure rate does not only lead to many missed opportunities but also waste so many scarce resources which if used well could change the fortune of the organization.
Below, I share some insights why organizations fail to implement change and what could be done to bring a successful change.
Change can fail due to following reasons:
- It’s not compelling: Usually the change is interpreted as more work and more stress for the same pay. Change needs a reason and employees can’t be pushed to change until they are not convinced of the urgency of the change. Employees don’t commit to change if they don’t find it compelling.
- It’s not deemed as required: Change can’t be an option. Change is a requirement. Sometimes leaders fail to understand the need of the change and they try solutions which are familiar but not appropriate to bring any change. Lack of conviction on part of the leadership leads to abandonment of change.
- Lack of proper communication: Sometimes it is not the message but the way it is communicated to the team that does all the harm as the leadership may find it difficult to deliver a tough message and the employees may find the message inconsistent and may interpret it differently, consequently not embracing the change and hampering the very idea of it.
- Differing Agendas: Sometimes hearing about a change many employees assess the implications for their jobs/positions and resist the change due to their ego and self interests.
- Lack of Leadership: Though the change strategy is designed by the senior people but it is the people at lowest level who make the change happen. When people at lower levels don’t trust their higher ups and are not involved in the entire change management process the intended effect is difficult to achieve. And a number of times change fails for a simple reason that leaders do not know what not to do.
- Lack of performance measures: Change is all about improvement and if there is no clear set of performance measures to check if the organization is on track then no one can be held accountable and managing and sustaining change is practically impossible.
- Lack or poor allocation of resources: Change is a long term process and it requires a long term investment to sustain. Change can fail if there is a lack of resources. Sometimes leader find it very challenging to allocate proper resources to all the areas of change and they tend to allocate more resources to certain area of change which they find more compelling while compromising other areas.
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