If you’re reading this, chances are you are an executive that needs to turn over culture, a VP for change management, or maybe you’re a small business owner that wants to bring your team into a new system. Whatever your role, one thing is for certain: Change management initiatives are NOT easy.
We call this the “Change Challenge.” The reality is that 70% of change management initiatives will fail, according to a McKinsey Study. In fact, this statistic has stayed steady since the 1970’s, proving that creating change is no small task.
Why Do Most Change Management Initiatives Fail?
Over the years of working with various organizations to change their culture, processes and improve their learning and development, we’ve found four main reasons why change management initiatives fail. Almost always it is due to a lack of:
Employee Perspective: Employees are not given an overall perspective of why things are changing or need to change. They are simply told what is going to happen and are given marching orders. This is a recipe for disaster as there is no buy-in.
Program Adoption: When there is confusion around the new program being implemented, it’s almost a given that the change management initiative will fail. Training, education, understanding and over communication are essential to help team members adopt a new program or system.
Behavior Change: While managers and more senior employees may be implementing change, it is impreative that every employee has the ability, skills, and training to actually implement and change their behavior within the new framework of the organization. You need managers to help lead the charge, but you truly need people who can fully adopt the new principals and find ways to get things done on their own, not relying on someone else forever to understand the change management initiative.
Measurable Data: One of the greatest mistakes of a change management initiative is failing to measure progress in real and tangible ways. While you may feel like things are getting better as they are being implemented, the reality is that you don’t really know if you have nothing to compare it to.
Change Managers Can Create Successful Initiatives
As a change manager, your job is not an easy one. You have to get many people on the same page, running towards the same goal. Some of which may not want or don’t understand the direction. But, you also believe this change is very important to the mission of your company and could create amazing results for the organization. It will take large consensus to drive the adoption of this new process, but it is more than possible.
As you learn what pitfalls to avoid and the reasons that so many change management initiatives fail, you can learn from these mistakes and work hard to make sure your organization does things differently. But, you can’t do it all alone.