Subscribe to My Feed   Follow Me On Twitter   Join Me On LinkedIn   Friend Me On Facebook

Why Change Fails

Change fails for a number of reasons, including:

  • Lack of a vision for the change
  • No support from top leadership
  • Failure of the organization to communicate and share information about the change
  • Lack of open and honest communication from leadership
  • Ignoring feedback or input on the change from employees

Of course this is not a list of every possible reason why change fails. Primarily, though, with my clients, I have seen change fail when the organization has not created a desire for change to occur. Change initiatives are frequently launched without considering that,

  • A change initiative is a project that must be managed as you would any other project in the organization
  • Pre-planning is necessary to ensure a successful end result (meaning that employees adapt to the change)
  • Employees must be engaged early on, during planning, in implementation and after the change is launched
  • A change manager must lead the initiative. Someone who understands that..
    • Change is a process
    • Every individual experiences change differently
    • Change management tasks must be focused on how individuals in the organizations currently feel about change
    • People are the most important component of any change initiative if the change is to be adopted

Let me share one client story. This client failed at their first major strategic change initiative. Abudi Consulting came in at the end to turn around the situation to get the company back on track.

A US-based retail client needed to make major changes to business processes. This need came about due to significant customer losses because of significantly outdated processes. The customer losses had significantly impacted revenue over the last five years – a loss of over $1 billion US Dollars. Unfortunately, prior to addressing this strategic need, the organization laid off one-third of their workforce, the majority of whom worked with the customers. This major transformational change initiative, therefore, was launched with employees who had limited knowledge of the customers and were angry about the layoffs. They not only were taking on more work to make it up for those employees laid off, but were also now being asked to work on a change initiative with a very short timeline. Additionally, many of the employees remaining were upset as they perceived that had the organization reacted sooner to the situation, their colleagues might still have jobs today.

In this example, this client was, frankly, destined to fail. The organization did not have the support of employees, was very reactive to a situation that they may have been able to be proactive about had they paid attention, and did not consider other happenings going on in the organization that would impact the ability of employees to commit to this change.

To “fix” the situation, we came into the client to address the fact that employees were overwhelmed, stress and frustrated with the situation. It took us about 2 months to work with employees to address their perceptions around how they were treated by acknowledging the poor work done to launch the initiative. The CEO worked closely with us to address employees concerns. Only then were we able to work collaboratively with employees to begin to address process issues.

This is just one client story Gina shares in her book. Want to learn more? Purchase Gina’s book, Implementing Positive Organizational Change: A Strategic Project Management Approach, J Ross Publishing, 2017.

Comments are closed.