Change Management
Why most change management initiatives fail
Why most change management initiatives fail

”We” need to change “them” is NOT the way forward

Why most change management initiatives fail? To many leaders still believe that “we” need to change “them” is the way forward when it comes to change management.

Expressions like “mindset change”, and “changing people’s mindsets” or “changing attitudes”, often indicates a tendency towards imposed or enforced change, and it implies strongly that the organisation believes that its people currently have the “wrong” mindset, which is never, the case. The fact is, no one likes to be changed, even if the change is ultimately beneficial.

Research shows that there’s actually a decrease in cognitive function when people feel as though they lack control over their work environment.

A far more effective approach would be to actually involve employees in solving business problems. As Dan Pink writes in his book “Drive”, the autonomy and skill development that comes with solving problems for oneself will do more to overcome resistance and motivate change than any strategy others can develop.

The real secret to successful change, is not to change people at all, but to empower them to find their own solutions and responses, with facilitation and support from managers, and tolerance and compassion from the leaders and executives.

Key determinants of successful change implementation is organisational alignment

The most critical element in any change management initiative is its translation into reality. The only true measure of success is in its execution. And one of the key determinants of successful change implementation is organisational alignment.


The importance of organisational alignment

Why most change management initiatives fail – The lack of organisational alignment


Companies most likely to be successful in making change work to their advantage are the ones that no longer view change as a discrete event to be managed, but as a constant opportunity to evolve the business.

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Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement and development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland View full profile

Kevin Jones

May 24, 2013 3:11 pm

I like the chart – it’s a good visual aid to managing change.
I like the 80/20 rule, or in this case a variation on it that I read somewhere a long time ago and remembered it ever since. Let’s call it the 10/80/10 rule.
10% of people embrace change – they look forward to it.
80% are the crowd that will go along with change given a reason.
10% are the sabotours that will throw up roadblocks to change.
Which group do you focus on? – the embrace change group – I learned this the hard way!

Terry Schmidt

May 27, 2013 8:46 pm

I like the parallelism between guiding path and driving path. We all too often forget the former.

Another reason initiatives fail is inadequate understanding of the causal linkages on the “guiding” side of the path. Specifically, what is the set of objectives that will achieve the goal, and what are the activities to reach those objectives. Even more, what assumptions must we make for this logic to hold.

Keep up the great insights!


May 29, 2013 8:16 am

I agree partially with Torben. The basic principle of resistance to change works by inertia. The Change management is difficult area and it require multi-prong strategy to make successful change. It is mix of unlearning-learning, involvement, teamwork, empowerment, psychological and leadership. It require sustained effort over a long period of time to make effective change in a organization.

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