Four Organizational Change Mistakes To Avoid
Company’s go through organizational changes: implementing a new CRM system, restructuring project for cost cutting, introducing a new product line, expanding into another country, establishing e-commerce business, buying or merging with another company, relocation project – the list goes on and on.
Depending on the scale and complexity of the projects, those changes make people feel uneasy, uncertain, worried, or even fearful. The human and emotional aspects of change initiatives are often neglected. Based on 30 years of research by change expert Dr. John Kotter, professor at Harvard Business School, 70% of all major change efforts in organizations fail. There are 4 main reasons for failures:
Key leaders do not create enough sense of urgency
Without motivation transformation efforts will go nowhere. Companies and its leaders underestimate the importance of establishing an inspired coalition with energy and authority.
There is not a clear vision or it is not clearly communicated
Without a clear direction the change program can easily dissolve into a list of confusing projects taking the organization in the wrong direction or nowhere at all. Transformation is impossible unless hundreds or thousands of people are willing to support it. It is absolutely essential to communicate where the change project is going and why.
Major obstacles and potential roadblocks are not anticipated and removed
There is hardly a change without obstacles. They can be: the organizational structure, narrowly defined job categories, compensation or performance-appraisal systems, and, worst of all, bosses who refuse to change and make demands that are inconsistent with the overall change vision.
Success is declared too soon and without anchoring the changes in the culture
Until new behaviors are rooted in social norms and shared values, they is a high risk to revert back to “the old way”. Change sticks when it becomes the way we do things around here, when it becomes part of the corporate culture.
Based on the four reasons for failure, leaders can significantly increase their chances of success of their organizational change project by following these strategies:
- Establish a motivated and committed core team that will drive, lead, and execute the change efforts despite potential resistance.
- Define and articulate a clear vision and ideal future outcome about the intended changes and its benefits, combined with constant communication and engagement of all stakeholders.
- Create short-term wins to inspire and create ongoing momentum for positive, sustainable change.
- Continuous reinforcement of the changes while anchoring them in the corporate culture to create sustainability.