6 Reasons Why Change Programs Fail

Change is happening all the time in the business world.  From time to time, all organisations will find themselves in a situation where it has to implement a more structured and more radical change program.  This might be due to factors such as:

• Competition

• Loss of stakeholder confidence

• An adverse event impacting on business reputation

• Technological advances

Change programs are common but it is claimed that up to 70% of them fail.  While there are multiple reasons here are 6 reasons why change programs fail.

1. Communication

It might be that the organisation is having problems delivering the tough messages.  Alternatively it might be inconsistency in the message delivered by members of the leadership team.

The problem might not be with what is said but listening effectively to differing views and ideas.

2. Top Down

Senior people might lead the organisation, set the direction and put the plans in place.  Yet in reality they are not the people who can make it happen.  People at lowest level of the organisation determine whether a change program delivers.  They need to be involved.

3. Lack of space and support

Changes impact on individuals in a very personal way.  If organisations do not provide the space and support to individuals who are impacted by the change, the chances of success are greatly reduced.

4. Unclear objectives

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.

5. Lack of performance measures

Change is usually about improvement.  Unless there is a clear set of measures that can let people know whether they are on or off track, that are monitored and people are held accountable for sustainable change is unlikely.

6. Underestimating emotions

While everything on a spreadsheet or project plan is highly rational, it is important not to underestimate emotions.  Few relish change and see it as an opportunity.  This is neither right nor wrong it is just the way it is.  Awareness of people’s emotions can make a huge difference.

Change is a fact of business life and by taking some simple steps, the chances of success can be greatly enhanced.  What’s your top tip?

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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