Change…….to make or become different, to take or use another instead of, to give up or get rid of (something) in exchange for something else; an act or process through which something becomes different.

Change means many different things in different situations. In practical terms, in the context of running a business, it could mean something as simple as changing the supplier you buy your stationery from or it could be something altogether more complex such as changing your opening hours, launching a new brand, implementing a new organisational structure, making redundancies or even opening a new branch.

The simplest changes really don’t take much time or thought, however, the more complex changes require a more concerted effort if the change is to be implemented successfully.

The core phases of a change project are:
1. Opportunity Definition: define the problem, set the vision and size the prize.
2. Design and Planning: Translate the vision into specific, actionable strategies and devise a plan.
3. Implementation: Adapt design to reality where necessary; measure, track and monitor. Engage the top people who will lead the change, cascade down through the organisation and create ownership, communicate and communicate again, address culture and consider employee’s attitudes and behaviours, prepare for the unexpected and talk to the individual as well as the group.

This all seems very straightforward……right? So why do so many change programmes fail?

Here we look at 8 common reasons; thinking about these proactively will help ensure your change project doesn’t fall at the same hurdle:

#1: Not establishing a great enough sense of urgency: Opportunities are lost because the organisation fails to establish a sense of urgency as to why the change is needed.#2: Not creating a powerful enough and guiding coalition: Organisations fail to assemble a group with enough power and prestige to lead the change effort and also may not have top management’s commitment and full support.
#3: Lacking a Vision: Organisations fail to create a compelling vision for the future to help direct the change effort – what will be different after the change? What will be preserved? What is the strategy and objectives for achieving the Vision? What are the benefits to each affected stakeholder group?
#4: Under-Communicating the Vision: Organisations fail to communicate a Vision for the future. What the organisation will look like as a result of the change? The Vision has to be presented as an opportunity, not a threat.
#5: Not removing obstacles to the new Vision: Systems, policies, or structures that seriously undermine the Vision are not dealt with and removed.
#6: Not systematically planning and creating short-term wins: Quick wins are not identified and celebrated. Individuals are not recognised or rewarded for performance improvement as a result of their change efforts.
#7: Declaring victory too soon: Organisations fail to monitor the progress of their change efforts and evaluate results. Often, victory is declared when the change has not been sustainably implemented.
#8: Not anchoring changes in the organisation’s culture: Organisations fail to have employees accept the change as the way things will be done from now on and as such, they revert to their old familiar ways of doing things.

For help and support on managing change in your organisation, please contact…

Adam Davey, Director – Petaurum Solutions