70 percent of change management programs fail according to this McKinsey Solutions report.
A 2013 Strategy & survey of global senior executives on culture and change management “optimistically” has the success rate of change initiatives at only 54 percent.
Either way, these are grim and concerning statistics.
Why is this the case and how can companies move past this travesty? Here are some suggestions to help overcome this obstacle:
1. Conquering change fatigue
One of the principal reasons why the adoption rate of change management is incredibly low is rooted in the overwhelming feeling of fatigue that arises when employees feel anxious about making so many transitions - at once.
According the same Strategy& survey, a staggering 65 percent of the respondents confirmed that this fatigue was indeed a problem they had experienced.
Due to a lack of prioritization on the part of the senior level executives, the recipients felt that the initiatives lacked analytical rigour, rolled out too fast and was devoid of any preparation.
In quelling such apprehensions, companies must do all they can to embark upon as many proactive measures, and go above and beyond to ensure that they phase out the required change in order of importance. This way there is a collective understanding, concentrated effort and united focus with regards to the implementation and adoption of the change tactics.
2. Making change management more inclusive
Habitually, the conception and decision on an intended course of action for the change management is vested solely within the high echelons of the C-suite, with little or no input from those at the grass-root level.
As a result of such exclusion, 44 percent of respondents stated not comprehending the required change, whilst another 38 percent mentioned that they had contrarian views about the said change.
The unfortunate thing with this practice (of operating in a vacuum) is that vital and pertinent information that would help in making the change initiative more substantial and practical is missed. It also prohibits the forefront adoption and ownership of the said change.
3. Establish a united front at the top
Inasmuch as it is appropriate to engage all the levels of management with regards to the intended change, it is also incredibly expedient to ensure that everyone at the top level is all onboard with the proposed course of change – this can’t be trivialized.
What this kind of high-level alignment does is that it inspires confidence, and above all, trust in the proposed plan by those that are going to be mandated to implement the change.
People don’t resist change. They resist being changed! – Peter Senge
4. Understanding the difference between communicating and engaging
In going about the execution of the change, most leaders often make the mistake of thinking that their job is done after they convey the change directive. They assume that all employees would know exactly what to do, wash their hands clean and move onto the next agenda item.
This should not be the case.
In order to ensure the positive reception and adherence to the new change requirements, companies need to ensure that they keep the communication lines open, and are constantly engaging their workforce (at all ranks) till the desired outcome(s) is reached.
This type of engagement should also give room to ongoing feedback. This way the company is making continuous tweaks and updates to the mandates if the need be.
5. Making an emotionally compelling case for the change
People are generally more predisposed or inclined to adopting change (or anything else for that matter) if they are moved not just intellectually, but also emotionally.
In making a case for the main change, companies should make the objectives and call to actions rousing (saying something like “we will conquer new territories” for instance).
This way you reach your employees through both their heads and hearts by making them feel integral to something momentous.
These five hints should definitely offer you (and other leaders) a solid outline towards effecting continued and invigorating change that would get you past the “people hate change” hurdle. It would require a lot of work, but the eventual outcome/reward makes the investment worthwhile.
Written by David Fastuca @Locomote