Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Failure of Change Programs

67-85% of programs designed to create successful change in our organizations fail, and this is according to the Organizational Change experts. I've mentioned several reasons in previous blogs. Here's a few more:

Change programs build the organization rather produce fruit, in the analogy Gordon Mackenzie uses in "Orbiting the Giant Hairball". Change programs are typically about making the organization look good rather than helping those who do the work. Programs are about bureaucracy, which gets in the way of creating something for your customers like good service, good products, etc. That's why in many companies you'll see people doing their work and then "oh, yeah, by the way" putting some effort into the change.

Change programs become one more goal if not carefully aligned with one key strategic goal and the business model. It becomes a reason for dilution of resources and a lack of focus and alignment in the organization. Energy and effort is dissipated by change programs. If the change program doesn't get everyone focused on the BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) then it's a distraction and diversion. And if it's counter to the company's evident (through behavior) values and what the market place is demanding, it will fail. Sometimes Six Sigma and Lean are not the right kind of techniques to pull into a company that is competing on innovation and meeting customers' ever-changing requirements.

Change programs are all about the Sell style of decision-making and communication, rather than Consult or Join. The change program has come from top down with little input from the troops. Management's job is to overcome obstacles to make the program happen. Sounds exactly like selling, right? There's little involvement and therefore little engagement. And it's engagement that will create competitive advantage for you.

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