Why are businesses failing at change management?

In today’s fast-moving environment, change is a crucial element of a business to develop and grow. However, recent research shows that many organisational initiatives are failing to consider the impact this will have on employees. 

According to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Executive Education Program on Leading Organisational Change, “researchers estimate that only about 20 to 50 percent of major corporate reengineering projects at Fortune 1000 companies have been successful. Mergers and acquisitions fail between 40 to 80 percent of the time.”

It also states only “10 to 30 percent of companies successfully implement their strategic plans.”

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The consulting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers supports these findings, in a study entitled How to Build an Agile Foundation for Change. Its authors noted, “Research shows that nearly 75 percent of all organisational change programmes fail, not because leadership did not adequately address infrastructure, process, or IT issues, but because they did not create the necessary groundswell of support among employees”

To successfully implement change initiatives, organisational leaders must identify the need for change and communicate it throughout the company. They must also engage people at all levels of the organisation by explaining what is happening and involving them in the design of the implementation strategy. Lastly, leaders must actively involve the people that are most to be affected to ensure employees at all levels embrace the proposed changes.

Shweta Jhajharia, the founder at Growth Idea, advises all her clients to adopt her​​ 3C’s strategy to help teams understand and adjust.

The 3C’s consists of: 

  • Context: Tell everyone why your business or organisation needs a change. Explain the context of this change and answer any questions.
  • Content: Which areas need a change? Explain the things that are going to change or which need a change.
  • Course of Action: This describes the actions that need to be taken, and when they will be taken, to change things.

She said: “Change is a choice that your entire organisation must accept in order for it to be effectively adopted and produce the desired results. All employees must be included in this decision to ensure they feel significant, part of the business and motivated.”

Jhajharia explained why people were likely to show resistance to change, such as when the reason and context of is unclear, the exclusion of some members of the organisation, if it is considered a threat or there are no benefits and rewards offered.

“Dealing with resistance involves clearing up any and all uncertainties. The fear of surprise should be eliminated, and reassurance should be delivered at every stage to everyone in your organisation.

“The bottom line is that without positive change, a business is unlikely to achieve stretch goals and will most probably fail to meet the needs of a changing and ever more demanding market,” added Jhajharia​.


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