Top 7 Reasons Why Organizational Change Fails
By Mark Sanborn
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Have you experienced a failed change lately? Been a part of a team or an organization that attempted something different...and failed? We've all seen attempts at change bomb. What happens to scuttle well-intentioned effort?
The following are some of the most common reasons I've identified why organizational change fails. You can use the list for diagnostic purposes or to prevent mistakes in future attempts at change.
A misstart occurs when a change is ill-advised, hastily implemented or attempted without sufficient commitment. This is a leadership credibility killer.
- Making change an option
When leadership commits to a change, the message must be that the change is not an option. But the message that often comes across is "We'd like you to change, we're asking you to change, we implore you to change, please change..." Whenever people have the option not to change, they won't.
- Not involving those expected to implement the change
A great deal of resentment is aroused when management announces a change and then mandates the specifics of implementation. Employees need to be involved in two ways. First, their input and suggestions should be solicited when planning the change. Secondly, after a change has been committed to, they should be involved in determining the means. Leadership needs to communicate, "Here's what must happen. How do you think it can best be done?"
- Delegated to “outsiders”
Change is an inside job. Although outsiders like consultants might provide valuable ideas and input, people inside the systems must accept responsibility for the change. Scapegoating and passing the buck is not an option.
- No change in reward system
If you keep rewarding employees for what they've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always gotten. Make sure that rewards, recognition and compensation are adjusted for the desired change.
- Leadership doesn't walk the talk
For change to happen, everybody involved must buy-in. Leadership, however, must take the first steps. Change is aborted whenever leadership doesn't demonstrate the same commitment it expects from others.
- No follow-through
The best planning is worthless if not implemented, monitored and carried out. Responsibility must be clearly defined for making sure that follow-through is timely and intense.
Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE is a professional speaker published in the areas of leadership, change management, customer service and teamwork. He works with business organizations who want to reach the next level of success and individuals who want to perform at their best. You can reach him at (800) 650-3343 or visit his website at http://www.marksanborn.com
Article Submitted On: November 16, 1999