May 2015 – Preparing for Change

Successful change is about taking people with you. So why do so many change programmes fail? Research shows that up to 70% of them fail…….

This is down to a number of reasons for this, but the recurring ones from the copious amounts of research show that communication, top down, unclear vision and under estimating emotions are fundamental areas that need to be taken into account during the planning stage, before anything is implemented. After all, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail……….

Engagement

Often senior management set the direction, put the plans in place and then tell the workforce what is going to happen. Yet people at every level of the organization are expected to implement and sustain these changes with no involvement. Engagement at all levels is essential at the very start of the project and consistently throughout.

Clear Vision

So to get this engagement there needs to be a clear vision that people buy in to and believe. Take Virgin for example. Not only does it have an excellent brand image from a customer’s point of view, but it also ensures employees buy into the brand and believe in what they are working for. This is no mean feat.

The objective or outcome of any change program needs to be clear.  Ambiguity makes it impossible to get across the reasons and benefits of the change.

Consistent Communication

To engage staff and be clear about the vision requires excellent and consistent communication. The leadership team needs to all be singing from the same hymn sheet and believe in what they are doing. People can see through leaders that are doing it as a tick box exercise or because they are told.

More importantly the communication has to be two-ways. So often than not, organisaitons tell staff what will be happening, which takes us back to the first point. Mainly because of time and money and because they feel staff will put obstacles in the way and delay things even more, costing more. Imagine if you ironed out as many objections as possible before implementation? Imagine what that would save in time and money?

Awareness of emotions

Finally, the last point that is depicted in one of my favourite models the ‘Kubler-ross model’ is awareness of people’s emotions. This can make a huge difference and actually be the success or failure of the project.

Change is a fact of business life and by taking some simple steps, the chances of success can be greatly enhanced.  To embrace change, you must also engage in a process that changes how people think about themselves, not just their job.

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