Thursday, July 30, 2015

Five Barriers to Change Management Success

Managing change is no longer a one-time project, but an ongoing business capability.

Change is inevitable, and organizational change becomes a common practice within an organization, but more than two-thirds of change effort fails to achieve the expected results. What’re the barriers to cause the change failures, and how to make Change Management tangible rather than fluffy?

Not investing enough time to discover the root cause of issues: People seem to feel efficient -doing things right when working on the problem reactively. However, effectiveness - doing the right things, requires a little bit of thinking before doing with a proactive mentality and attitude. ''If you're very busy, you should sit down, if you're extremely busy, you should lay down'' referring to the analyzing process what the problem really is and how you should go about solving it. Digging through the big WHY is extremely important either for change or any kind of business initiatives, and leveraging Systems Thinking to discover the root cause is about seeing the interconnectivity between the parts and the whole, to avoid the “Change for its own sake” symptom, and often fix the things from the “mindset” level. All changes require a cooling period. Business cannot take initiative for granted.

Lack of executive sponsorship and management accountability: There must be a senior executive to act as a sponsor for the project of change, yet being the name at the top of a change organizational chart is not enough. The sponsor must be fully engaged with the change, willing to be visible, willing to lead other senior stakeholders and ready to participate (or at least attend to learn) workshops and project meetings. If the sponsor is him/herself the barrier, the change manager must try to identify and break those barriers. It's rarely easy, but it is essential. Organizational Change Management initiatives also need business stakeholders who accept ownership for decision making and accountability. The culture side should have a bit in about the culture of management not meeting or aligning with the organization's values. This is usually down to a lack of enforcement at the top etc. The need for the change must be identified as well as affected users. Those users (primary and secondary) should be made aware of why the change is necessary. The executive sponsor and change team manage timely or regular follow-up which is an absolute must. The personal involvement of the executive sponsor is obviously critical to overcoming the barriers.

Lack of a well-thought-out execution plan: One of the major barriers to successful change is the lack of a change plan. Change is more than a goal, it must be accompanied by well thought out execution plans. There are too many executives limit their role to idea identification and too few focus on execution planning. Working in cooperation with a project manager, schedule your change activities as part of the project - this will ensure that the cart is never before the horse, and there is sufficient time to prepare the stakeholders. Aiming is critical -- meaning execution planning. Otherwise, old projects get a cosmetic change to look like they are supporting the change when they are not. The execution plan needs to include measurement and risk management as well, to make your needs known, and manage risk smoothly. If you're not getting the support you need, it's a risk.

Lack of knowledge about organizational Design Principles (structure, resource, culture): There are two options, namely, a dominant hierarchy or a non-dominant hierarchy, lack of resources (money, people, time, etc) and the sufficient knowledge to manage a Change Management project or program. Transformational change needs resolute leadership too, the premise behind this is more than simply obtaining senior buy-in. This is needed to support a cultural change through the change lifecycle which enables everyone, wherever they are in that cycle, to accept the direction of travel and focus on benefits realization.

Lack of change review, reflection, and recognition: The lack of recognition for change impacts individuals and businesses’ willingness to extend themselves again for the next change. As a Change Initiative is completed, often team walks away without checking to see if it adds value or evaluating if additional work is required. Also, often teams are more interested in perception as opposed to value-adds. Taking the time to communicate the expected outcome with consideration of the "right" way allows the team to have room to make success progressive. The lack of breathing space between change initiatives is an issue as well. Plowing on to the next big thing before completely embedding the change into business as usual or running multiple simultaneous changes can leave a workforce reeling and exhausted.

The speed of change is accelerating. Managing change is no longer a one-time initiative, and Change Management turns out to be strategically important in today’s digital organizations. Therefore, by identifying these roadblocks for changes, organizations can build an ongoing business capability to ride above the learning curve and to manage changes and digital transformation more effortlessly.


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