Why Change Efforts Fail
There are many reasons why business change efforts fail. Lucky for you, we’ve got your back and compiled a list of some of the most common ones below (and tips to help you avoid them to achieve your goals):
1. Change Fatigue
Change is exhausting. When change is happening all the time, people can get burned out and stop caring about what needs to be done. This is particularly true if workers feel little to no ownership over the change process but are simply being told what to do. Be mindful of how often and how much change you are trying to implement. A good practice is to periodically survey your teams for feedback about the amount, pace, and effectiveness of your efforts.
Pro Tip: Make surveys or feedback channels anonymous to achieve the most honest team sentiment.
2. The Wrong Culture
Every organization has a culture that influences how it makes decisions and approaches problems. If there's a disconnect between the culture and what an organization is trying to do through a change process, then it's likely to fail. For example, if your company is trying to break down barriers between departments to share information more freely but has a history of operating as independent silos, then it will be very difficult to make that change happen successfully until the underlying cultural dynamic changes, too.
Pro Tip: Perform an analysis of your impacted audiences to find any gaps and create a communication strategy based upon the results.
3. Lack of Leadership
Change requires leaders who are focused on making things happen rather than maintaining the status quo. Leaders need to set clear priorities and align their actions with them in order for others to follow suit.
Pro Tip: Develop Key Influencer plans that outline the expectations for those leading the change.
4. Change-Immune Stakeholders
While it's important for everyone in an organization to buy into change, some positions are more important than others in getting the ball rolling — think executives and managers who lead departments or teams of employees who have direct contact with customers and stakeholders most affected by the change effort.
Pro Tip: Communicate and engage with stakeholders to identify any resistance or concerns. Without stakeholder buy-in, the change will likely not succeed.
To review; change projects can be valuable and effective, as long as they are managed properly. If you’ve struggled with change efforts in your own organization or career, we hope you are ready to take a closer look at the processes that you use to change the way things are done and know what common pitfalls to look out for.
It’s actually not too surprising that many change initiatives don’t happen with the intended results; the majority of companies identify at least one of these mistakes as the culprit. This is why it’s important to seek outside help when preparing for a large change initiative. A change management firm like our team at Ignite Consulting will have the experience and processes to steer your company away from or through these pitfalls.