Making Change Stick

Whether the catalyst is new technology or a global crisis that has reshaped an industry, the need for major change in the past decade has been unavoidable for organisations.

The pace of change has accelerated, its scale has amplified and its complexity has intensified.

Restructuring, cost reductions, post acquisition integration, geographic expansion, new product or service deployments, IT transformation efforts will all require people to fundamentally change the way they work.

Despite the fact that the need for change has become more frequent it has not become easier to implement. For organisations to deliver business objectives of a major change program, people will need to both adopt and sustain new ways of thinking and working, and this is where the challenge lies.

One of the major challenges when delivering successful projects and change within organisations is the ability for that change to stick. How often have we seen or experienced change delivered within organisations only for weeks down the line things return to the ‘status quo’. In these times and market conditions the successful organisation is one that is able to deliver sustaninable change, there are many examples of the types of organisations that lack a core competency in this area, such as Nokia, RIM and Blockbuster.

Studies (HBR “Cracking the Code” by Michael Beer and Nitin Nohria) have shown that more than two thirds of all change initiatives fail. At this stage you may find yourself asking “Why bother to even try to deliver change?”.

Our answer to this question would be…”Stick with it!”

The element of change that regularly gets eradicated during change programs, usually due to a ‘fruit salad’ of change and project processes, is people.

People drive successful change.

Even the most sophisticated business transformation efforts and detailed change processes can, and often do, fail because they do not capture the hearts and minds of the people who need to think and work differently to deliver the change. People tend to be creatures of habit; they resist adopting new mindsets, practices, and behaviours.

One of the first steps that you need to take as an organisation to deliver successful change that sticks is to understand and effectively communicate the impact of the change on people.

Delivering this first step will not only identify the impact of the change on teams or business units within your organisation, but it will also outline what the change means for your staff personally. And this is the primary concern of every person within your organisation. Looking at the impact of the change on your people with identify any potential challenges that you may face as you look to deliver successful change that sticks.

A successful project and change program has a number of attributes, but one that you cannot forget is that it is always people focused.

You will not achieve your business change objectives without altering the way people think, work and behave.

In today’s business environment, change is critical.

The ability to manage and deliver change on an ongoing basis needs to be written into the core of our organisation.

Organisations are constantly being called on to deliver successful transformation programs to address challenges and exploit opportunities.

Many are integrating permanent change capabilities into their organisation and have delivering change as a core competency.

What is your approach?

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