Friday, May 20, 2016

What are Common Change Pitfalls?

There are too many different types of change management initiatives, so there is no one size fits all approach to successfully managing change.

Organizations today are more dynamic than ever, there are Big’C’ changes such as digital transformation, merging organizations with overlapping or duplicate functions, and little ‘c’changes such as implement a new software tool, reorganize a department, improving a new process to do things more efficiently. Big ‘C’ Change requires buy-in via digging through the ‘big why’ behind the change, sets success criteria and to hold managers accountable,; and little’c’ change needs to have a step-wise logic on ‘how’ to make change more efficiently. Still, more than two-thirds of business Change Management effort fail to achieve the expectation, what are the pitfalls on the way?

Lack of vision: The most critical element in Change Management is a shared vision for the organization. Change is usually required when an organization is expanding its business, its mission, or is installing/implementing some new technology. In all these cases, a vision provides the guiding light and direction. Without a clear vision, change either turns to be chaos or for its own sake. With a clear vision and planning, the change managers can internalize the change effectively. This is best done if they participate in the development of the vision. If they don't, then they need to think long and hard about what is the business purpose of the change and how their part of the organization can contribute to it; be more specific for taking actions, but be prioritized without losing the big picture.

Negative Emotions: Such as Fear of the unknown; Fear of failure. Fear of change happens at both personal and organizational level, fear of disruption, the existence of chaos. People like to change, but do not want to be changed and there is the difference. By nature we resist the changes, however, if we are part of it, it is easier to shift to the new behavior. So the more transparent about a change effort, the less uncertainty, and consequently less fear, there will be about the effort. But that takes planning, decisive leadership, and the intestinal fortitude to be transparent with people when the truth might not be pleasant to deliver.

Complacency: Leaders often miss the big picture and become complacent or comfort with the status quo. To lead change effectively, change leaders must think hard and make tough decisions on time. At all levels, change is the process, you must work harder to improve. Change with improvement in mind is a proactive approach that allows for planning and support considerations to be made and, therefore, is much more likely to turn into a smooth and successful collaborative transition. Change without wanting to improve is a reaction to outside forces and, therefore, full of limitations. It often reflects a disorganized environment and major irritations for everybody.

The "perceived" cost of transformation: Change is costly, but if the ROI of Change Management is high, not necessarily for short-term, but for the long run, it’s still worth doing. Thus, the sponsorship for change is crucial as it is being structured, intentional and resources for focusing on adoption and usage in the first place. You can have an amazing presentation with the right stakeholders, but if the person delivering the message isn't your sponsor or key influencer in the room, people won't care. Still, the top pick key factor in Change Management is situation driven. It could depend on the type of change project as well. If it is a large scale true organizational change project where you aren't simply removing one thing and replacing it with another, then identifying sponsors and influencers is key to success. If you are part of a change project, communication and engagement would be a priority because the system is already in place and you are making enhancements.

Timing: Change has to be orchestrated at all levels with the right timing because strategy management and change management need to go hand-in-hand in a timely manner. Change occurs at the level of the individual and it is only when the majority of people are on the journey that the real results start to emerge. It is commonly noted that most of the 'top-down' driven programs are unsuccessful as they fail to enthuse functional stakeholders. Changing too fast perhaps has difficulty in sustaining the result - only change behaviors manually, not change the mindset behind it, changing too slowly will stifle strategy execution and business growth.

There are too many different types of change management initiatives, so there is no one size fits all approach to successfully managing change. But pay more attention to these pitfalls to change. A clear vision, step-wise planning, positive emotions, talent competency, cost-effectiveness, and right timing are all important factors to lead change, large or small in an effective way.


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