We’ve all faced many changes this year, and while some of them have been managed well, others have meant great anxiety, stress and ultimately, have not resulted in the change that was expected. Change management can fail for a variety of reasons; and sometimes it can be difficult to work out where things have gone wrong. Here, we take a look the most common reasons changes hit hurdles and do not reach the finishing line, then offer ways to avoid such pitfalls moving forward.
Learning how to deliver news to encourage engagement and a willing participation in the change process will be far more effective than simply telling people what to do. Actively seek to point out why the change makes sense, discuss why and ensure people are on-board through understanding how it helps. A leader that promotes thorough understanding and appreciation of the need for change will make the change a higher priority for them.
Pushing too much too quickly
Sometimes change can feel overwhelming which can ultimately lead to resistance and upset. It may be better to focus on making changes at a pace where sustainability is the key; do not attempt to change everything even when stakeholders push for more in a shorter time. Set a realistic scope and timeframe and if you achieve change in a shorter period, those involved may have a greater sense of achievement for achieving quicker results that expected.
Lack of objectives and progress measurement
The creation of objectives and easy to measure progress metrics will ensure that progress stays on track. Ensure that change communication clearly shows rationale in a way that is appealing, easy to understand and most importantly has a clear definition of progress, success and recognition for those involved.
Lack of support
When support is lacking from above it may be necessary to directly address this. Offer specific suggestions as to how management may show their support. Ensure they understand success may be less likely when their support is not evident.
It’s not just support from above that is needed, however. It’s vital that those impacted and concerned by change are involved from the beginning. As a change leader, you need to listen to opinions, keep processes transparent and identify those who are seeking to actively support your efforts and offer a shared leadership approach, which may encourage others to be less resistant.
Not understanding reasons for resistance
It is difficult for an organisational change consultant to change a person, so look to focus on changing contexts, develop processes and procedures to build a foundation for employees to work on. Taking the time to understand reasons for resistance may lead to valuable insights on the way forward.
Failing to evolve
Your chances of success are greater if you are prepared to evolve. Taking an agile approach and considering the effects as the project progresses will allow you to adapt. Recognising a need to adapt to the effects of organisational politics as the project progresses and to work within an organisations culture alongside making changes as the new ways set in, and the dynamics change are all contributors to the likelihood of success.
An outcome focused change manager can reduce many of the common reasons for failure, simply in the messages given. If you’re about to embark on change within your organisation, it may be a good time to brush up on communication skills training to ensure you can best communicate with your team to help you overcome any challenges.