Strategies For Managing Change – This One Simple Process Will Help You Avoid the 70% Failure Rate

Ok given all the available strategies for managing change – why do so many business initiatives and ventures needlessly fail to deliver the promised benefits and increases in shareholder value? Why is the failure rate a staggering and consistent 70%?In my view – any major business initiative or venture that fails to identify and quantify the impact on those people most affected by it carries a high risk of failure.The numbers may make sense but have the political and cultural factors been assessed?There are several reasons why this is often not addressed: first and foremost because the focus is on getting the deal done; secondly because a corporate culture is hard to see (especially if you are in it) and this is compounded by the fact that there is often more than one culture, and finally because it is hard to talk about.And yet… the price of failure comes high!The reason why understanding 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.

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I have developed a diagnostic process that allows a company to test the impact of a proposed business initiative or venture on those people most affected by it, to identify why it may fail and to establish precisely what has got to be done to make it a success.Principal benefits are that it is low tech and simple to understand and apply, it involves staff at all levels and enables them to articulate difficult issues in a non-confrontational way, and it can be undertaken quickly and before large sums of money are irrevocably committed to the venture or initiativeThere are three phases to this process:* Situation Analysis – that defines a cultural frame work for the company and will also identify all of the significant subcultures within the company that will assist or resist progress towards the business objectives of the proposed venture.* Gap Analysis -plots the positions of key entities within the company and highlights the gaps between this and where the directors say or think the company is, and where they want to be.* Resolution -shows the tasks, steps and processes that have to be undertaken. All implications, issues and exposures are analysed, categorised and prioritised across all functional areas impacted by the proposed venture.In this planning process there are no fixed parameters as to who should or shouldn’t be included – it may be conducted with just a very small senior management team comprising 2 or 3 people – or extended to include a wider cross section of management and staff.The process is designed to:1. Make you think deeply about your proposed change;

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2. To understand as fully as possible the impact it is likely to have, and3. To work out clearly exactly how you are going to reap the benefits from the change.If all this seems like a lot of work – yes it is! I won’t deny that this process can be time consuming – but it will ensure that you dramatically increase your chances of success – and as a by-product save you an inestimable amount of time, hassle and money in the future.Alternatively, do what most organisations do – go ahead and skip all of this – dive straight into a project or task level implementation of your good idea – and considerably increase your chances of joining the failures.If at this point you are thinking to yourself that this all seems very simple and obvious – you are of course perfectly correct. But these steps are so simple and obvious that they are usually over looked – and the result is a 70% failure rate.