Why Most Change Efforts Fail and 7 Guidelines to Ensure Your Team Succeeds

Why Change Efforts Fail and 7 Guidelines to Ensure Your Team Succeeds
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Chances are you will initiate a change that affects your whole team or start a major team project in the near future.

And chances are it will not make the impact you had hoped for.

A 2008 study by IBM found that over 60 percent of change efforts do not fully meet their objectives, and a 2013 Towers Watson study revealed only 25% are sustained over time.

Most change efforts fail, not because of the technology or the topic of the change or even because it was the wrong idea. They fail because of the human factor.

Have you ever experience any of these human factor derailers?

Halfway through the project you discover you don’t have the support needed from senior management. Your team . . . → Read More: Why Most Change Efforts Fail and 7 Guidelines to Ensure Your Team Succeeds

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The Physics of Change

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Masters of change like Martin Luther King, Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela understood that vision alone is rarely enough. Real change masters leverage the physics of change to bring about transformation.

Newton’s First Law: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalancing force.

In other words, you might think your vision is a good idea, but unless it is strong enough to unbalance the status quo, nothing will happen. Too many dreams are never put into action because they are not grounded in reality. This is true for organizations as well as individuals.

If you want to change direction, envision an attractive . . . → Read More: The Physics of Change

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3 Guidelines to Avoid Resistance to Change

People don't resist change.
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People don’t resist change.

Change is a normal and natural part of living. The only time you stop changing is when you’re dead.

What people resist is having change imposed on them.

Here are three guidelines to invite people to participate in the change process, and to minimize resistance to change.

1. Involve people throughout the organization in planning and implementing the change.

The best way to avoid resistance to change is to involve people in planning and implementing the change.

They will have a better understand what the change is about, why it is important and will be more committed to it. When people are asked for help, they are more invested in the outcome.

When a leadership team plans . . . → Read More: 3 Guidelines to Avoid Resistance to Change

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3 Approaches to Culture Change: What Works

Culture eats strategy
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You can’t “do” culture change to your organization. Culture arises from the beliefs and underlying assumptions held by the people in the organization. Trying to change culture by decree or through training programs won’t affect people’s beliefs.

One way to change the culture is to fire a lot of people. That really shakes things up and gets change going – especially if you replace them with new people who come in with a different attitude about the company and the work.

If that doesn’t appeal to you, the only way to quickly and effectively change the culture is to involve the people you want to change in designing and implementing the change effort.

They will better understand why the change is needed and will be . . . → Read More: 3 Approaches to Culture Change: What Works

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Why Nobody Noticed You Changed and 5 Things You Can Do To Make Change Stick

Personal transformatio
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Did you ever get feedback that your behavior was having a negative impact on others? Perhaps you were told you’re too critical… or don’t listen enough… or are micro-managing your team… or even the other end – that you’re not involved enough?

Have you ever worked hard to change that behavior, perhaps even worked with a coach, but then got feedback that they still saw you as a frog… not the prince or princess you thought you had become?

If so, you’ve not alone. One of the most common reasons people revert to old behavior patterns is because of lack of appreciation of their efforts, lack of acknowledgement they’ve changed, and lack of support to continue acting differently.

No wonder “change doesn’t stick.”

Why . . . → Read More: Why Nobody Noticed You Changed and 5 Things You Can Do To Make Change Stick

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Organizational Change Can Start Wherever You Are

Ripple Effect
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Do you wish senior leaders would make some changes in your organization? Instead of waiting and wishing for someone from above to provide leadership, you can make a significant impact no matter what your role is.

According to Steven Covey said, “Most people think of leadership as a position and therefore don’t see themselves as leaders.”

The assumption that organizational change has to start at the top is wrong.

Peter Senge says to “give up traditional notions that visions are always announced from ‘on high’ or come from an organization’s institutionalized planning process.”

Michael Beer of Harvard Business School agrees. “Managers don’t have to wait for senior management to start a process of organizational revitalization.”

You might be wondering, “How can I change my organization . . . → Read More: Organizational Change Can Start Wherever You Are

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Try Collaborative Change for a Change

LGI Room Conversation
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If you are tired of “trickle-down” change, consider using a collaborative change process where a large slice of your organization comes together for real conversation and to make decisions about your collective future in real-time.

This kind of high-involvement process was used by Southern New England Telephone to prepare for deregulation and the emergence of competition. It was used by Jackson Hole Ski Resort to reconsider their strategic direction. It was used when the Boston Gardens closed and they opened the new Fleet Center building. It was used by the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center when they opened under new management.

It has been used by hundreds of other organizations, where leaders understood that the attempt to hold onto power at the top of . . . → Read More: Try Collaborative Change for a Change

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Create an Unbalancing Force If You Want To Move an Elephant

Create an Unbalancing Force if You Want to Move an Elephant
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Chris is unhappy at work. He thinks the work is boring, and he doesn’t like his boss or co-workers.

Why doesn’t he quit?

The answer lies in Newton’s First Law: An object continues to do whatever it happens to be doing and resists change unless an unbalancing force is exerted upon it.

An Unbalancing Force is needed to overcome resistance to change. The amount of Chris’s unhappiness is not great enough to unbalance him. And no strong vision of an attractive alternative entices him to move.

An Unbalancing Force might occur if something big were to happen, such as if Chris were passed over for a promotion he had been expecting. Or he might quit one day if enough minor things built up until . . . → Read More: Create an Unbalancing Force If You Want To Move an Elephant

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