Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Failure Point: Five Perils of Changes Management

If you make change part of your operation routine and your DNA - and then change becomes an ongoing business capability.

Change is the only constant, and the speed of change is increasing rapidly. Organizations large or small spend the significant time and resource to deal with the big changes such as radical digital transformation or small changes such as adopting a new version of the software. And statistically, more than 70% of Change Management effort fails to achieve the expected result, what are the perils of Change Management, and how to manage change more effectively?

Silo mentality: Silo mentality is a common challenge for lots of organizations. Even businesses take steps into the hyper-connected digital world, many business managers still apply old silo management mindsets to new ways of organizing, and this legacy of the old economy limits many 'networked' organizations. Are silos a mere product of organizational design? Or is it tied to a deeper humankind's nature? In today's volatile economy, nothing impedes progress more than protective silos which are simply a form of bureaucratic amorphous mass designed to preserve the status quo. Despite the mountain of evidence pointing the detrimental effects of these silos, they still seem to be quite common in organizations. In essence, with silo mentality, organizations lose their collaborative advantage as they are being over managed and under led, remain disconnected, hoard knowledge and power within silos, and do not have the competence to collaborate in the long term. When leaders of an organization place an emphasis on building a culture of cross-functional collaboration, the opportunity for silos to work against the alignment of all departments towards the goals and objectives of the organization is diminished.

Fixing the symptom, not curing the root causes: Often times, the management teams have a tendency to try to fix a symptom which results from the actual cause of the problem. When they do this, they throw good money after bad. They allow problems to grow under the surface, out of sight, out of mind, until it’s too late. The company is trying to fix a symptom, not the real problem which is stifling staff creativity, communication, and productivity. Until the underlying problem is addressed, the symptom or result will continue to return. So trying to fix the wrong cause of a problem will waste time and resources, increase anxiety, and leave industries full of opportunists that see short-term rewards by offering solutions that address symptoms without digging into the real problems. A better solution that crosses all industries is to keep peeling back the layers to find the root cause via asking five WHYs or taking other systematic approaches - to discover the real cause, and address it, and to make change sustainable.

Change inertia: As the saying's going, "people don't resist change, they resist being changed." Prevention of "R"(resistance)  is what most people call "good leadership."  There are two types of resistances are expected: personal level and the structural layer, and both need to be addressed effectively and efficiently. If someone is "resisting" change, what's that about? Are they perhaps interested in "certainty," "stability," "think things are on the right path" or is it something else? It's a good idea to get clarity on what the "resistance" is all about and look closer to the reality of what's going on. Change is inevitable, and the only differences are the reasons and goals behind the change and its scope, depth, and breadth (why to change, what you need to accomplish, what does it consist of and what does it impact). Overall, good anticipation in planning is key for a smoother execution, while over-communication, regular updates, and plan adjustments will enhance your chances of success.

Multifaceted complexity: Organizations "become complex," not for their own amusement, they do it to respond to environments more proactively. There are many shades of corporate complexity, some are desired, such as design or connectivity, others are not. The self-diagnosis questions include: Is there a selection of complexity dynamics at play which therefore leads one to think that organizations are becoming more complex, which leads better agility or less? Are they increasing in hierarchical complexity because they need to coordinate more cross-functionally?  Are they increasing in information density complexity because of advance in technology and information processing? Are they increasing in network complexity because of the number of nodes and connections in the organizational environment? Within the organizational context, it seems to be useful to separate complication from complexity. The complicated things can be simplified in a certain way, but the desired complexity can become business’s competency because the competitors cannot copy such capabilities easily. The very effort of Change Management is to enforce the fair complexity and eliminate redundancy and complication.

Ineffective change leadership: The leaders need to be the Change Agent to walk the talk, to set the right tone for others to follow. Successful transformations require leaders to over-communicate the transformation vision. Unclear communication for vision, goals, the need for change, benefits of change and each one's role in the change is a huge mistake. And now, social and enterprise collaboration tools do provide effective and interesting digital platforms to make change more tangible and measurable. Change needs to have reasons: Remember no one like change especially when one can not identify the justification for the change. Top leaders' sponsorship for change is absolutely helpful, and change also must be adopted and led by all of the first line managers if others are to follow your lead. Only through effective leadership, the change management can be well designed and practiced systematically.

There are both promises and perils in Change Management. The promises of effective changes often lead the organization to the next level of business agility and maturity. The perils of Change Management we discuss here can waste a lot of resources and cause a lot of pains. Change cannot be just another thing that needs to be accomplished. It has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the organization. In today's over-complex work environment. It takes a lot of energy to break old habits and outdated thought processes, but change is happening at a more rapid pace. If you make change part of your operation routine and your DNA - and then change becomes easier to deal with, and even become an ongoing business capability.


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