Strategies For Managing Change – 9 Failure Reasons That You Can Avoid

A review of the history and literature of strategies for managing change shows these 9 reasons for programme failure:(1) Lack of board level support – The change programme is holed below the waterline if it doesn’t have the support of directors and senior management – and is seen to have their support.(2) “Here’s one we did earlier” – Any attempt at a top-down, imposed “packaged-solution” that doesn’t capture people’s support will sink without trace.(3) “Shuffling the deckchairs” – If the change is seen by people as simply “shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic”, then like the Titanic, the programme will slip beneath the icy waves of peoples cynicism and indifference. People need to believe in what they are being told and not to just see it as yet another organisation restructure exercise to justify senior management’s existence.

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(4) Lack of leadership – The initiative needs a programme director with a transformational leadership style who is leads from the front – and is seen to be doing so and who totally owns the programme. If this role is not fulfilled – then the change management programme will fail.(5) How people see the change initiative – People need to see what the change programme is all about and why it is necessary. They need to feel some form of connection with the reasons for the change and what is hoped to be achieved by it. They need to feel that it is worthwhile and necessary and something they are broadly in agreement with and that they can support.(6) Lack of trust – People are sick and tired of eorganisations and restructurings and all of the insecurity that this engenders. Senior management and especially the programme director need to create an atmosphere of trust – otherwise fear and mistrust will have a corrosive effect and jeopardise the change management initiative.(7) Under-resourced – It essential to the delivery of successful strategies for managing change that they are fully resourced with with the necessary people, training, time and budget. An under-resourced programme sends the message that senior management don’t really care and haven’t really thought it all through. So if “they don’t care – then why should we?”.

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(8) Change resistance – If the impact of the change management initiative hasn’t been fully defined and explained to those people who are most affected by it, then it is very likely that they will resist the change. If the company has a history of “deck chair shuffling” then the level of negativity and resistance will increase.(9) Unrealised benefits – if the processes of defining, managing and realising the benefits of the change are not handled properly, then the new capabilities may not be fully utilised or sustained. It is the role of senior management – via the programme director – to ensure that this is fully managed from the outset of the change programme

Strategies For Managing Change – Use Your Walls

Introduction
No matter what kind of change you’re introducing to an organization, ultimately you’re seeking a change in behavior. Modify behavior, and you’ll modify results.As you’re focusing on people, process and technology, don’t overlook the physical environment. You probably already realize the importance of a well designed workspace to people’s productivity and job satisfaction. That work environment also offers you the opportunity to reinforce important priorities and influence people’s thinking.The Balanced ScorecardI was facing a difficult challenge in the category of strategies for managing change. I was new in my leadership assignment and new to the company. The people I had inherited were already working as hard as they could. The hours were long, the deadlines tight. Their internal clients were constantly hitting them with demands for new systems and capabilities.At the same time, all of the operational indicators for the organization were moving in the wrong direction. We were billing millions of customers, and our billing error rate was climbing. Applications were experiencing outages and systems availability was below 98%, totally unacceptable in this day and age.

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Operational pressures and business demands were colliding, and IT was caught in the middle. This was the classic opportunity to introduce a balanced scorecard, and so we did.The scorecard had some positive impact, and at least it got my leadership team on the same page in focusing on the right metrics and attempting to deal with competing priorities. But our improvements weren’t enough, and we quickly hit a wall. People were still operating in their silos, focusing on what they understood to be their priorities.Then someone came up with an interesting idea. Why not blow up the balanced scorecard into a color coded, three foot by five foot display and post it on the walls? More specifically, with several hundred people in the organization spread across three floors in two buildings, we would place the scorecard strategically in places it could not be missed. Elevator lobbies, break rooms and rest rooms all had available wall space we could commandeer.What happened? People talked. They sometimes made mocking comments. But they paid attention each week, not so much to the numbers but to the colors. (And eventually they came to understand what numbers resulted in what colors). They got excited when measures moved from red to yellow to green. They got inquisitive when something moved the wrong way, and suddenly improvement ideas started to be shared across the old silos.We had succeeded in not just creating a balanced scorecard, but in making it part of our culture. And we had done so by making that scorecard part of the physical environment in which people worked – by hanging it on the walls.Another ExampleI visited a client a year or so ago, one of the largest banks in the U.S. I was at their headquarters, walking through the part of the complex that housed a large portion of their customer service organization, including senior management and one of their biggest call centers.This bank was in the process of instituting a series of process and technology changes aimed at improving customer service. And throughout their headquarters there were banners on the ceilings and the walls that reinforced specific parts of the change program.The monitors placed throughout the work areas that regularly displayed call center performance had periodic “commercials” tied to their change program. For this bank, one of their main strategies for managing change was this: change the environment in order to change the culture.

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It’s a brilliant strategy, and it’s all too often overlooked. Bank management had managed to get thousands of people talking a new language, focusing on new processes. Lots of businesses have employees who talk about improving customer service; at this bank they talked specifically about how they were improving customer service.Virtual WorkforceWhat about strategies for managing change when people aren’t co-located? Or when the business is smaller and perhaps is not able to exercise total control over the physical space in which people work?Consider standard headers and trailers on email messages; try flash advertising or messages on the corporate intranet. Be creative.Your goal is really simple. When people are “at work”, whether that’s real or virtual space, use the environment they are in as a constant reminder of where you want them to focus, what you want them to be talking about, where you need them to take the business.Use direct mail if you have to. Online newsletters or instant messages can serve as constant reminders.It’s the most overlooked strategy for managing change – the work environment.

Strategies For Managing Change – Get People Talking

IntroductionMeaningful change in results requires meaningful change in people, processes or technology; usually all three. The difference between a passing fad and lasting change lies in the extent to which you are able to change people’s attitudes and behavior.Make no impact on attitude and your change management strategy is reduced to people going through the motions. Get them to change how they think about their work, and your chances for lasting success increase.The Leader KnowsAny boss can tell people to do something differently. Change the process in this step; start using this new system; you get the picture. A leader understands that until people start thinking differently, the change management strategy is not fully implemented.The leader also knows that in order to get people to think differently, there’s going to have to be a marketing effort. Let’s distinguish this carefully from a sell job. The goal of a good marketing effort is to create word of mouth, to generate a buzz. A good marketer knows that nothing will sell a product better than to get everyone talking about it — positively, of course. When it comes to a change management effort, the same is true.

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This is why one of your top strategies for managing change needs to be creating buzz. You have to get people talking.Actually, That Part is EasyLet’s be more specific. You have to get people talking in ways that advance your change management strategy. Because make no mistake about it; people are going to talk. When you change the organization structure, when you introduce a new process, when you replace one system with another, you’re upsetting their routine. Yes, they are going to talk.The conversations people have are going to be dictated by how much you teach them. If you make a major process change to reduce costs, and you tell people you’re introducing this major process change to drive cost out of the business, the conversation will start from that point.If the new process means more work for the people, or requires them to do something they don’t particularly enjoy doing, they will go from your starting point to discussing what they don’t like about the new process.If they conclude that they have to do more work, and as a result of that extra work you’re going to save enough money to come in under budget and get a bigger bonus this year, what kind of conversation will that generate?Try It This WayTake that same process change, but this time make the effort to explain a few more points:
The change is to reduce costs
Our cost structure is 45% higher than our competitors
Competitors are beating us on price and we’re losing market share
We can save enough to be price competitive and invest in new technology
The long term results will be new products and growth
Without this change we face a drop in sales and ultimately lost jobs

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Now when people talk, they are going to have a different conversation. In every strategy for managing change, there’s a story to be told. It starts with what you as the leader tell your people, and whatever you leave out, they fill in the blanks.For some reason, human nature is such that people most often fill those blanks with assumptions that are closer to worst case than best.The more facts and reasoning you can provide, the better the chance that people will be having the conversations you need them to have. People are going to talk. You can turn that into an advantage for your change management strategy.