We read the quoted statistic that 70% of change programmes fail. Understanding why so many change programmes fail is an important step in driving successful change.
There're many barriers to change, but undoubtedly, the largest of them all is people. One can get a new software, develop new procedures, and prepare the most perfect system, but it will just not stand if it fails bringing people along. The key to this we find in communication, transparency, support and coaching all along the process. People won't change following a few facts ("we need to change to increase our market share"), they will change because they believe in it, because they got feelings in favour of that change.
As a result of our study, we found that a successful checklist for any change programme should include:
- Take time to understand the current area where change is required. This time is never wasted and will help drive superior results
- Clarify the strategy, develop the measureable objectives. Be realistic about the scope and the timing
- Define at the outset how the change will be resourced. Be prepared to drop or reduce other tasks as it is unrealistic to go on adding tasks forever
- Take time to understand the cause and nature of any resistance to change. Emotional behaviour plays a large role in change programmes. Change through indifferent enforcement is rarely sustainable
- Reinforce the strategy consistently and regularly
- Communicate clearly and frequently, especially about measurements, results and consequences