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

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.

Strategies For Managing Change – Resistance

IntroductionAny strategy for managing change needs to anticipate resistance. Resistance is natural, and it can come from employees, partners and even clients. You’re taking people out of their comfort level and probably introducing risk into their professional lives.Here are some ways to think about resistance as you incorporate overcoming resistance into your change management strategies.Who is Resisting?If you are making changes that are impacting clients, the degree of resistance will be correlated to the client’s view of the level of risk vs. potential benefit to them. Client resistance to change is so important that we’ve devoted a separate paragraph to the subject below.What Type of Resistance?For your employees, partners and others, it’s important to understand whether their resistance is passive or active.

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Passive resistance involves worrying, grousing and otherwise complaining about the change management strategy. Some call it whining, and sometimes they’re right. You can’t ignore passive resistance, even though it need not be fixed immediately. Passive resistance is a distraction, and it can slow your entire organization’s rate of learning and adoption of your change management strategy.Active resistance involves organizing others, refusing to participate in a change program or activity, and even sabotage or other serious efforts to malign the strategy.Active resistance must be confronted quickly. Acknowledge individual (or group) right to their opinions and concerns. Then define acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, and hold people to them.Your goal here is not to win people over, or even to bully them over. It is only to correct the behavior. If you can do that, you’ve gotten your active resistance to the same level as your passive resistance, and you can go on with addressing both. If people or groups won’t discontinue unacceptable behavior, you must find a way to separate them from your change program, to the point where they have no role or influence.Addressing Acceptable ResistanceNow that you’re at the point where you don’t have a behavior problem, you still need to get people past their concerns.Allow time for grievances. Listen to them. Try to find something you can actually address, since many times people will feel better just knowing that something they said was acted upon.If you’ve really been listening, the group will know that and they will likely be appreciative and jump on board. A few may opt out, but since you already handled the really violent objections earlier, this should not be traumatic.Client Resistance

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Any time you introduce client impacting change, you’re going to see the guard go up. Their first question is the always popular WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) and if you have a great answer to that one you can probably win them over quickly.Even with an answer, and especially without one, you can expect to have to do a lot of hand holding. You may need to repeatedly address what is changing and why. You’ll need to show that you have contingency plans so that there will be no disruption if things go wrong.Be honest with your client. If a non-disruptive contingency plan is not possible, tell them how you’ll minimize their risks.Consider offering incentives to clients for supporting the change management strategy. If they are going to incur costs to monitor systems while you’re making changes, help them recover those costs. Show them that you have their interests at heart.

Strategies For Managing Change – The Excellent Case For Creating Your Own Culture Maturity Model

Maturity models are usually associated with projects and programmes. However, I want to make the case for developing your own culture maturity model as a preparation to the development of your own strategies for managing change.I first became aware of the significance and importance of organisational culture in 1994 when I was involved in a business development exercise with a colleague and the significance of organisational culture – initially seen solely from a business development perspective – became firmly established on our radar.We rapidly made 5 discoveries:(1) That we can construct a simple matrix that can enable us to very rapidly identify the type of organisational culture we are dealing with.The basic structure of the matrix can be used to define a template of an organisational culture, namely:- Type of culture
– A summary definition of the culture
– Evidence of the culture – i.e. its characteristics
– Key issues faced and addressed by that culture as can be seen in actions and behaviours
– The areas of major focus – or key areas of impact – of the culture

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(2) That these cultures are obvious and instantly recognisable and indisputable from the company’s own perspective [i.e. they recognise themselves as such](3) That these cultures as seen from a business development perspective form a maturity model. In other words, organisations migrate along a clearly identifiable and predictable path as their own business development skills evolved(4) That the structured template of this cultural matrix is universal and transcends our original business development perspective -i.e. you can use this template to define ANY organisational culture(5) That any organisation has more than one culture and that we are able to define a subset of characteristics of the likely orientation of these sub cultures in relation to the primary or dominant organisational cultureThis template has been used on many companies and in many, many different situations over the years – overtly [with client involvement] and covertly [i.e. I use it but don’t involve my client as it may not be relevant or they may not be receptive.]My definition of a generic maturity modelFollowing this I formulated my own definition of a generic maturity model:”A maturity model [usually represented as a schematic] is a structured description that shows the stages of evolution of an organisation in transition through various developmental states. It is pre-supposed that this evolution represents progress to more developed or advanced states of learning, insight, understanding and practise.”Having established a cultural template of where your organisation is now, you can determine the template of how your organisation will look after your step change initiative and clearly see the gaps between these positions.

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Navigating through the issues to where you want to beThis, in turn, enables you to determine a route that will navigate you through the issues that will arise – and especially to help you identify the full impacts of the changes on those people who will be most affected and to plan accordingly.And in conclusion – the reason why using a cultural maturity map to understand your cultures is so important is that they are the single biggest determinant of how people in your organisation will behave – and especially in the context of a step change – and thus determine the success or failure of your initiative.Properly applied in a change management context, this will provide you with an excellent pre-programme planning analysis process that will provide the input to the preparation and delivery of an executable [holistic and wide view perspective] programme based approach to change management.