Why 70% of change programmes STILL fail?

‘Resistance to change’ is often cited as the number one reason why a change programme has not delivered to the level stakeholders wanted.

Organisations need to respond to turbulent market conditions, achieving more with fewer resources – but change can be very difficult for some people and even the organisation itself.

In 2014, Assentire concluded its latest research project, integrating experience and insight from senior leaders & practitioners of organisational change.  The research conducted over the past five years explored implications for both leadership development & change programme management, highlighting essential insights, core skills and conditions needed for successful change.

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Use the Grow Through Change model to understand the ‘DNA’ of organisational change.

grow_through_change_modelLeading and Managing Change
In many of the projects we repeatedly came across a ‘Lack of clear Purpose’.  Purpose exists at four levels as a minimum.  (1) What is the alignment between the purpose of the organisation, (2) that of the Change initiative, (3) that of the Group each individual belongs to and (4) the purpose of the individual themselves.  If any of these levels are not aligned, problems will not be far behind.
Intrapersonal skills & perceptual differences: ‘Different Modes of Management perceive different realities’ when presented with exactly the same data. This can lead to very different behaviours directly affecting the success of the change programme.

Interpersonal awareness and skills: There was often ‘Low awareness regarding Leadership of Transformation and Individual Transition’ and when not fully appreciated or understood, all sorts of challenging situations will emerge in a change initiative.

Communicating Performance & Change:
There is a need to ensure that an appropriate process with relevant content is in play.  Understanding communication is a two-way activity and about remaining aware that when the change team understands what it wants to communicate, it takes time for the receivers to assimilate the message and actual meaning for themselves. In reality, that is only step one of a multi-step communication programme needed to bring about successful change.

Managing Change & Performance:
Understanding the need for inclusion resulting in staff involvement, you must know that there will be a ‘Tipping Point’ and that the organisation and individuals within it will have different appetites for change and capacity for assimilating new behaviours, so if you overload them, you will fail.

Ensure a safe environment to enable learning and change
Relationship Health or Culture:
Change is all about learning and if the change is to be effective, there is a need to develop a culture or the “Smell of the place” that supports learning.  Learning by definition means tolerance to a level of mistakes as it is from mistakes, we learn.

Leading and Managing Individual and Group Transition
Group Dynamic:
Understand that old habits die hard, that change can be perceived as creating excessive work, while the existing way of doing things may be perceived as OK which may be due to an out-dated life-cycle view or “Group-Think.”

Personal Dynamic:
Understand that there may be a fear of failure combined with a sense of “ROI” which may conflict with an individual’s “Family System” and/or career objectives.

Know that, for people to be motivated, you need to align their sense of purpose. Similarly, make them feel they are able to do the new job or support them to do so and give them the level of autonomy that enables them to contribute to their best ability.

Final message
If a change programme misses any one of these key areas, expect a more challenging change outcome than you would like. This list is not exhaustive, yet it does represent the integration and know-how from more than 55 change initiates.  Enjoy the ‘DNA’ of change.

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