Monday, 14 April 2014

Driving and managing change will remain the number one priority

Driving and managing change will remain the number one priority for leaders according to a recently published study. But the reality is that most change efforts fail. Many of these failures can be traced to these common change management mistakes:

Mistake #1 – Starting too late
Pressure to act quickly undermines values and culture. Leaders take drastic steps quickly with no time to explore alternatives. Values about participation, involvement, or concern for people disappear. Cynicism grows.

Mistake #2 – No winning strategy
The best change program in the world won’t do any good if your organization doesn’t have a strategy for getting where it wants to go.

Mistake #3 – Fanfare
All too often organizations announce big changes and new programs with big events and fanfare, but then very little actually happens. The initial energy and enthusiasm fades, specific changes are never identified let alone implemented, results aren’t realized, managers don’t adjust, or maybe something even better comes along leading to a new “launch” with new fanfare.

Mistake #4 – Employees hear it from the media first
Journalists dig for information, and items can run in the media before employees hear about them. Middle managers look dumb and uninformed. Employees feel insulted and left out.

Mistake #5 – Failure to make a compelling and urgent case for change
What is obvious to the top may not be so obvious to other pivotal players. How real and meaningful is the case for change for each of the pivotal groups? Do they feel a sense of crisis, a “burning platform?” If not, how can you create it?

Failure to create a strong sense of urgency causes a change movement to lose momentum before it gets a chance to start. Establishing a true sense of urgency without creating an emergency is the first objective achieved to overcome the routine of daily business.

Mistake #6 – Only focusing on the rational elements
Organizational change will be extremely difficult in most cases if managers rely only on making a case to the rational, analytical, problem-solving side of the brain. Instead, they must also make an emotional case for change and align the rational and emotional elements of the appeal.

Before you can get buy-in, people need to feel the problem. People aren’t going to consider anything until they are convinced there is a problem that truly needs to be addressed.

Mistake #7 – Not dealing proactively with resistance
Managing resistance to change is challenging and it’s not possible to be aware of all sources of resistance to change. Expecting that there will be resistance to change and being prepared to manage it is a proactive step. It’s far better to anticipate objections than to spend your time putting out fires, and knowing how to overcome resistance to change is a vital part of any change management plan.

Mistake #8 – Everyone’s reaction will be even remotely like yours
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in initiating major company changes is to expect that everyone’s reaction will be even remotely like yours.

Organizations don’t change – People do – or they don’t.

Mistake #9 – Lack of communication
Change management communications need to be targeted to each segment of the workforce, and delivered in a two-way fashion that allows people to make sense of the change subjectively.

Mistake #10 – Not enough leadership
To many leaders focus too much on management and too little on leadership. That is mainly because managers are taught to use management tools, of which many exist. Leadership, on the other hand, is hard to teach, springing as it does from many personal qualities. And, compared to the great quantity of management tools, few leadership tools are available to the manager. One of the few – and one of the most effective – is storytelling.

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