Effecting successful change management initiatives
Michael Stanleigh is President of Business Improvement Architects, Toronto, Canada.
Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assist managers to effectively implement change initiatives. Design/methodology/approach – The author provides his viewpoint for a step-by-step approach to implementing change on the basis of his professional experience. Findings – Most change initiatives fail because management may not be engaging employees in the process towards change and do not allow sufﬁcient time for changes to set. It is important to implement change in a series of phases that will engage employees and to allow sufﬁcient length of time for each phase to become institutionalized within the organization. Practical implications – The author invites managers to apply a multi-step process to guide, include, empower, enlist, and motivate employees towards change. Originality/value – Senior managers will understand why change initiatives usually fail and how to effect successful change management initiatives in their organizations or departments. Keywords Change management, Organizational change Paper type Viewpoint
Despite all the rhetoric, books, effort, and money thrown into change efforts, most organizational change efforts fail. Arthur D. Little and McKinsey & Co., have studied hundreds of organizations that entered into change initiatives and have found that about two-thirds fail to produce the results expected. In recent surveys, CEOs report that up to 75 percent of their organizational change efforts do not yield the promised results. These change efforts fail to produce what had been hoped for and yet always produce a stream of unintended and unhelpful consequences. These leaders develop clear strategies around re-design, restructuring, new efﬁciencies, and so on, hoping to get everyone to share their vision and create change programs around these strategies. However, more often then not, they end up ﬁghting ﬁres and crises. People don’t want to change. They don’t believe in the change. They often feel demoralized by change initiatives. Author and lecturer, Dr. Peter M. Senge, in his book, The Fifth Discipline: the Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, says that: This failure to sustain signiﬁcant change recurs again and again, despite substantial resources committed to the change effort; many of which are bankrolled by top management, talented and committed people driving the change, and high stakes. Executives feeling an urgent need for change are right; however, organizations that fail to sustain signiﬁcant change end up facing crises. By then, their options are greatly reduced and even after heroic efforts they often decline. q Business Improvement Architects, 2007 Please contact Sally Stanleigh at firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to reprint this article.
Harvard Business School Professor, John Kotter, who is widely regarded as the world’s foremost authority on leadership and change has said, ‘‘The most general lesson to be learned from the more successful cases is that the change process goes through a series of
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‘‘ . . . too often, management fails to recognize that adjustment to change takes time. ’’
phases that, in total, usually require a considerable length of time. Skipping steps creates only the illusion of speed and never produces satisfactory results.’’ As well, he says, ‘‘Making critical mistakes in any of the phases can have a devastating impact, slowing momentum and negating hard-won gains.’’
What drives change?
Some of the drivers of change:
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mergers and acquisitions; innovation; technology; restructuring/re-organizing; declining sales and/or market share; globalization, expansion and growth;...
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