No organization these days can afford to ignore the fact that change has become a permanent part of the business landscape. Those who are not prepared to transform quicklymay find themselves left behind.
But research finds that even when organizations embrace change management, they’re falling short.
Specifically, a study by the Katzenbach Center at Strategy& (formerly Booz & Co.) found that 48% of change initiatives fail because companies lack the skills to ensure that change can be sustained over time.
Further, the study found that only 54% of major change initiatives are successful, which can be costly not only financially but in how it adversely affects the company culture and employee engagement and productivity.
Management guru Peter Drucker once said that half of the leaders he met did not need to learn what to do – they needed to learn what to stop doing. So, here’s a look at what leaders and organizations are doing wrong when it comes to change management – and how to fix it.
1. Asking for too much. Among the biggest obstacles to successful change cited by respondents in the survey is “change fatigue.” In others words, workers are asked to take on too many changes at one time. This can occur when a change is rolled out with little planning, or rushed along to meet a deadline or pressures from senior leaders. Managers also can cause problems when they eagerly embrace the idea of change – but quickly abandon it when things don’t go smoothly. They begin to blame others, which quickly leads to disillusionment and fatigue among the teams.
The fix: Culture is critical. The survey finds that even though 84% agree it’s critically important, less than half believe their companies do a good job of managing culture. This underscores the need for a more holistic approach to change. Companies need to find a way to implement change that fits with the existing culture so that it doesn’t overwhelm workers and seem forced or contrived. Before asking workers for too much too soon, leaders need to think carefully about how they drive and sustain change if they want change initiatives to succeed.
2. Managers lack the right skills. Change efforts often can’t go the distance because those in charge of leading them lack the necessary abilities to reach the finish line. There is often doubt and confusion among employees when faced with new initiatives, and they (read more here)
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