Change Management

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Why Do 70% of Change Management Initiatives Fail?

By Deena Ullom June 6, 2016 by Kelly Kuhlman

Why do 70-percent of all change management initiatives fail? Personally, I think the problem starts with the name: “change management.” It seems more like a misnomer to me than an appropriate way to handle organizational change

As I look outside my window and find spring in full swing, I don’t see budding trees, blooming flowers and returning birds being “managed,” I see nature flowing — with ease. Can you imagine if fall were to arrive, and the trees decided not to shed their leaves, the birds refused to relocate, and the warm weather wouldn’t make room for the cold? Nature would be in utter chaos.

How do your organization handle the winds of change? Are your employees prepared for conditions they encounter, or are they buffeted by what they encounter and struggling to cope?

How does your organization handle the winds of change? Are your employees prepared for conditions at hand, or are they buffeted by what they encounter and struggling to cope?

So, why is change management so hard? It’s because most people have a hard time “flowing” with change — they resist it as if their life depends on it. Many people do not like change because it’s uncomfortable — because they would rather not weather the storm. However, how do you think flowers, plants and trees survive? It’s because they have to endure changing and sometimes harsh conditions. They have to withstand rainstorms and severe winds and unkind temperatures. Not only do they get stronger from enduring the elements, they also can thrive as a result.

From an organizational standpoint, is the right answer to “manage” change, or instead should we focus our attention on coaching people about their resistance to change and on helping guide them through it? Well, a definition of management is “the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.” How does the idea of being dealt with or controlled sound to you? It sounds awful to me.

In order to guide people in an organization through change, they need to be listened to empathically and communicated with openly. Allowing employees to feel what they feel, while urging them to continue to move forward despite any trepidation is a more natural way of flowing through change. Helping people access their own courage while change is occurring will help them not only weather the storm, but will also facilitate their ability to thrive. When an organization’s employees are changing and thriving, the organization will also thrive naturally.

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