Despite all the rhetoric, books, resources and money thrown at organizational change efforts, most fall flat. Studies show us that about 70% fail. This stat is both shocking and depressing, especially given the human costs. In my business, I have witnessed the wreckage and body bags of many a haphazard change process.
It’s not that I don’t believe that change isn’t important. It is, in fact, vital to the lasting success of any business or organization. It’s just that it’s often handled very poorly simply because the human element is overlooked.
Here are some things ‘not to do’ that, regrettably, I’ve seen repeated over and over:
1. Not engaging all your staff. People who haven’t been involved at the ground level will have difficulty with buy-in.
2. Making all change decisions at the executive level, or worse, if you’re the boss, making all decisions yourself.
3. Not sharing information about the need for change. In fact, it’s vital to create a shared vision for corporate change.
4. Expecting that change will happen quickly. It doesn’t. It can take years to do properly.
5. Telling people that they have to change and that they have no choice.
6. Sending staff on a ‘change workshop’ and expect change to occur.
7. Not honoring the past and the people who’ve been behind past success.
8. Expecting that people should simply “accept and move on”.
9. Not giving your staff time to vent and share concerns.
10. Demoting or otherwise under-utilizing your most talented people in the new structure.
I know that many of you have been through a few bungled change management processes. What have been some of the mistakes that you’ve seen or experienced?