Three reasons why change management fails

Opens in new windowIf we are going to adapt our businesses in a rapid and controlled way, then we need large-scale organisational change.

Based on some of the latest thinking on organisational change, this article identifies three key reasons why change management fails.

The reasons are:

  1. Change consultants are insufficiently equipped on a personal level.
  2. Most change models are incomplete.
  3. Capacity is widely overlooked, on all levels.

The author says that the solutions are:

  1. Change consultants need more personal development
  2. The change process needs a ‘complete change model’ (from preparation through design, impact analysis, design of change process, implementation, and ongoing course corrections)
  3. Development of additional capacity to work on changing the business, rather than running the business — “teach the client managers to fish”, or teach them to run their own change programme.

Permabusiness suggests three alternative priorities.

First, we suggest changing the order, so that freeing up additional organisational capacity comes first. We suggest that rather than throwing additional resources at the problem, or teaching managers to manage their own change (which in the short term will actually reduce capacity), the way to achieve this is by introducing a new way of thinking about business: a holistic/unified model (permabusiness) that enables leaders and managers to focus more precisely on what matters, and achieve more with less. In Einstein’s terms, we need a new level of thinking in order to solve the problems that have been created by the current level of thinking. This leads neatly into the second priority.

Second, we agree that personal development is important, but we think it needs to be applied as much (if not more) to the leadership of the client organisation as to the change consultants. Without these personal development insights, we will again be building a new organisation ‘B’ that is just as inflexible as the old organisation ‘A’.

Third, we believe that rather than having a controlled change process (from ‘A’ to ‘B’) it is more important to ensure that future state ‘B’ is based on a new paradigm for understanding and running business — otherwise future state ‘B’ will be no more adaptable than the current state ‘A’. A holistic or ‘unified’ theory of business would achieve this. It would also match the new levels of thinking introduced in the ‘personal development’ stage, and would provide a simpler focus that freed up time and resources in the current state (thus enabling the whole process to begin).

The result of all three steps would be a new organisation that is not only suited to the new market conditions, but also is fundamentally designed around new paradigms: a business model that is more flexible and evolutionary than the old model, and is run by leaders who have the personal and business insight to manage and lead that organisation well.

What do you think the priorities for change are?

The original article is here.

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