Why does organizational change fail

Why does organizational change fail

People don't believe what they read on the walls.They believe what they see in the halls

Common reasons organizational change fail

The most common pitfalls of organizational change

There is a scene from the 1999 movie The Matrix where Morpheus offers Neo the blue pill or the red pill. If Neo takes the blue pill everything stays the same, and if he takes the red pill he falls through the rabbit hole and sees things like they really are.

Morpheus: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

With the rate of technological disruption and the global economy, change is now the normal state of business. The blue pill is no longer an option!

Why does organizational failure occur at such a high rate

Organizational change does not come easy, however. Many organizational change efforts fail to reach their objectives. Why? Here are the most common reasons why change fails, and why company strategies don’t get successfully implemented:

Transcript:

  1. Failure to make a compelling case for change – People need to make sense of the change before they change
  2. Not involving the employees – Leaders believe top-down still works
  3. Ignoring current organizational culture – Failure to understand and shape the informal organization
  4. Real change happens at the bottom of the organization – It does not happen at the town hall meeting or through the intranet
  5. Not dealing proactively with resistance
  6. Failing to celebrate small wins – Change management is a dolphin, not a whale

→ Read more: Top twenty common mistakes in leading organizational transformation

People don’t believe what they read on the walls.They believe what they see in the halls

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About The Author

Torben Rick

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

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Many a times the change is initiated a the behest of the CEO, but one of the key players in the top team is disinterested and is merely watching for the change to fail, not playing one’s bit and supportive of the process, and the champions of change and the change facilitator have to work harder selling the change, rather than see it happen, and then it does not happen; and the CEO too sits helpless as if he is bound to carry the non-supporter with the organisation by his so called emotional or technological or historical compulsions.

Moreover the CEO does not lead the change, merely supports it and budgets for it, and expects the facilitator to tell now and then what to do, and expects the facilitator to counsel the non-starters or win over them.

Lot of change education takes place but the change does not take place, and sooner one starts counting the chickens, feels frustrated with low impact change, the facilitator moves out, and the change stops, as if the effort was meant for the facilitator and not for the organisation – nothing happens to the non-supporter, and it is more demoralising that the positivity built around the change agenda dies down, and faith in change management is lost having invested organisational time and money in the change effort, offering phony support. Or recession sets in and one does not feel any more worthwhile investing in the change-transformational effort, taking to fire-fighting in a non-visionary and non-missionary manner, leaving the change process half-baked.

The key to change management to start with seems to be to have the fullest hearty visionary and missionary ownership by all the key players at the top who actively invite and support and participate and lead the change in a self-driven manner, not treating change management agenda as imposed or optional or non-consequential or tending to enjoy the victory of stopping change, while the CEO too feels helpless, and the people down the line start losing faith in change, the organisation and in themselves and start moving out gradually, the show is over!

Hope the sharing enables plan and commit for change effectively at the CEO Level and his team, while sooner involving the bottom level too making both downwards and upward movement towards participative, action oriented purposeful calibrated step-by-step learning, change and the productive results for all to feel and see.

humble regards, hopes adds practical learning insights from the note.

kshantaram
hrd consultant and leadership coach, india

The bottom line of any change is, you still have to work your ass off… it would be great of we had completely obedient morons and change would be a walk in the park… But the power and beauty of change is the struggle, the crap, the resistance, and oooh so well the failures. Now that is a recipe for challenge.

I’m bored of CEO, who bought their blue print from a consultant that downloaded it from a website, I am fed-up, that most change is driven by managing technology, and it is given a people value. Change is more than the regression of variables, the structural equation of constructs and categories of small pocket of management decision.

Great change is a party, thank heaven I have seen it and lived in it, because for a while, lets throw the jargon of productivity, and financial models, but if change has reach the cleaner you have succeeded.

Remember without a clean Launchpad you just rubbish in space,

MJ

The question why does organizational change fail is treated in depth often and published widely.
As well you will find many documents as to how change should be done.
Maybe it is of interest to summarize the main reasons of failure and what kind of countermeasures are most promising to avoid such failures.
1. Failure to make a compelling case for change – People need to make sense of the change before they change
2. Not involving the employees – Leaders believe top-down still works
3. Ignoring current organizational culture – Failure to understand and shape the informal organization
4. Real change happens at the bottom of the organization – It does not happen at the town hall meeting or through the intranet
5. Not dealing proactively with resistance
6. Failing to celebrate small wins – Change management is a dolphin, not a whale
#1 Not a compelling case: First have a limited unit to run the change initiative, being positively inclined to make needed improvements. This is important as to concentrate the change resources to ensure success. Change by the way should be defined as improvement. And improvement mean different things for different people. Key players, especially leaders, should know: “What is in it for me?”
#2 Lack of involving employees: The CEO should lead the kick-off presentation but as well be present at regular progress meetings. Showing up once in a while on the shop floor and discussing improvement issues with employees gives also a strong drive to keep the initiative flying.
#3 There is a change resistant organizational culture: Not all will buy in easily. Understand why key persons are hesitating and try to sell: “What is in it for you?” It most of the time helps to dramatize as well the expected negative outcome if improvements are not done. It should be a little bit binary.
#4 Bottom is not seeing improvements: Have not just external change project managers in sub-units but as well a line manager besides him being responsible for all improvement actions. There you should see daily short (15 minutes) and efficient meeting defining improvement actions and following up of those actions (To do list with RACI and planned end dates with completed dates).
#5 Dealing proactively with resistance (see also #3): There most of the time will be blockers not able to convince of needed improvements. Often because they lose power as decisions are moved down the hierarchy to people having better knowledge about needed actions (“Direct connection established between needed service and supplier of those needs.”). It could help to make such persons responsible for improvement actions. If nothing helps blockers need to be shifted aside.
#6 Paying no attention to small wins: Praising teams and persons having done improvements and may be have a little party as well motivate the involved persons and spread the positive effects of improvements within the whole organization. Articles in the company newspaper and/or on the intranet strengthens as well the improvement initiative.
In short: Change CH happens if f(A+B+C) greater then Z
CH = possible Change
A = Dissatisfaction with status quo

All of you are correct AND still change fails about 70% of the time!

I searched Amazon just now and here is the result: “1-12 of 24,950 results for Books: “change management””
The key actions for a successful change are to give your employees some control over what happens–empower them. That requires you to give up some of the absolute control so many managers want to hold.

However, while it is true that the employees are worried about the change, no one speaks about how the manager is also worried, even fearful. The last thing a fearful person will do is give up any control! Thus such people will do exactly the wrong things for change to be a success.

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