Anyone who is reading this because of the words Change Management in the title has a vested interest and can benefit from this insight. You have, are planning or perhaps experience daily the challenges of implementing any change initiative to establish a sustainable and beneficial result. You would also be only too aware of the statistics which suggest your efforts historically have a > 70% chance of failure! Daunting by anyone’s standards.
Today we’ll look at four areas not traditionally a focus when looking at challenges to change, they are logical but seemingly not obvious or at least paid due attention based on how often we see them missed in change efforts. We will not cover the more addressed pit falls such as simply not following a process properly, lack of proper and comprehensive communication, involvement, definition and benefit, etc. …. these get plenty of coverage and although they are all quite legitimate they are part of the process. Today, let’s look at other factors that are just as disabling to your objectives yet not nearly as discussed or appreciated, inherent elements of your organisation that although not directly part of your change process directly affect and influence its outcome.
As a student and practitioner for decades of change management (or what we prefer to call Constructive Change), I have seen, experimented with, tested and generally reviewed, revised and re-engineered most of the well-known change methods and techniques. I have experienced first hand the general process challenges and failures, as mentioned above, and learned how to overcome them. In all of this I discovered there remains an area that is not part of the change process but that can be even more influential or defeating to change efforts.
There is an ironic aspect to this as well – we are all very aware of these elements, in fact they are areas we spend a great deal of time working to improve and regard as cornerstones of our organisations but yet too often miss the interaction and inter-relationship between them and change.
This edition of Professional Journey Steps: Four inherent elements of your organisation that can sink your change management initiatives!
The four elements and what you can do to have them compliment rather than scuttle your change initiatives:
Your Existing Structure versus change
Your Existing Culture versus change
Your Existing Systems, Processes & Procedures versus change
Habits, Behaviours and Intrinsic Bias’ versus change
The key here is not to dismiss these as factors for or against your change success. Dismissal of these is common because of how familiar and how much focus is put on each. I ask you simply to step back and look at your change efforts through the lens of each of these and simply ask a couple questions;
How could each of these affect what we’re trying to do to successfully implement and embed the change?
What can we do to align each area with the change steps?
These two questions are not as easy as they may appear. First you’ll need to have an objective (perhaps even brutal) look at each, warts and all. You’ll need to be very truthful with yourself and your team as to how each will affect or be out of alignment with the change or change process. This in itself is daunting and difficult to achieve with all the stakeholders – likely why it is so often overlooked. There is so much time, effort, money, resources being put into the change process. It is deemed self evident the organisation is already aligned with the process – after all, there has been even more of the same invested in each of these areas!
This little exercise, to objectively and truthfully explore these questions, either gets ‘put in the too hard basket’ or denial over shadows it so it is not done. Then you become another stat – on the wrong side!
To sum up, today’s professional journey step is to bring to light an area that is over looked when assessing and implementing change initiatives. After all, if there is a lack of alignment or cohesiveness between any or all of these four cornerstone areas of your organisation then you’re doomed before you even begin. So take a look at each, get your colleagues to do the same and be brutally honest with yourselves for best outcome!
Hint: each of the areas is comprehensive but the one most likely to not be ‘mined’ as diligently and deliberately as it should be is the area of systems, processes and procedures. Once these are in place we tend to have a high degree of ‘possessiveness and protection’ for them – get over it. It is VERY common for one or more of these to be out of alignment with change initiatives. The good news is of all four areas, once identified, elements within this area are the easiest and quickest fixed.
Good luck and all our best, hope this was informative and helpful!
Enjoy the journey!