There are statistics that show that a majority – perhaps as much as 70% – of change management projects are doomed to fail. 70%? How can this number be so high? There are any number of things that can go wrong when implementing something as complex as full-scale change initiatives across an organization, or even just across a department. And yet companies that are struggling in a difficult economy are more likely to attempt to implement change in order to improve efficiencies and harness other important benefits. The question then becomes, how can these changes be implemented such that they have the greatest chance of succeeding?
First of all, an organization considering implementing widespread change needs to be aware of the fact that employees in general do not like change, and will resist it unless they know why these changes are being undertaken. Employees are no different from anyone else in similar circumstances – they’re comfortable with what they know, because the new and unknown might not be as optimal. Therefore, as the employer, it is your job to collect the data necessary in order to “sell” these changes to your employees, and make them understand the compelling reasons behind them.
In most cases, this involves not just relaying how these changes will benefit the company’s customers or clients, but also in assuring employees that they too will benefit, even though it may take time to see these benefits. But organizational change generally centers around finding a new way of operating, which can often create more work in the short run, as both new and old systems often have to run simultaneously. Thus, the organizational leadership team needs to have in place a concise message as to why these changes are being undertaken in the first place, and to keep repeating that message as necessary.
And while this message is being relayed, underlying that message should again be the notion that these changes will add up to a win for employees, and not just for clients. This may involve assurances about existing jobs and wages, or whatever it is that employees are most concerned about. A key element of this process is being honest and above-board with your employees. Many leadership teams often keep potential changes hidden under a veil of secrecy – which is the worst possible thing to do. This is because in the absence of real information, people will fill in the blanks and make assumptions, often erroneous ones. The scenarios that employees imagine are often much worse than the actuality, and the atmosphere of secrecy will lead to a very tense and anxious pool of workers.
In the end, if the change is truly worthwhile for the organization, then the growing pains and difficulties in implementation will be more than worth it. Are you struggling with change management issues amongst your team? Project managers with a PMP certification are provided with training opportunities with PMI or other REP to expand their skills and knowledge in that area. Keep checking the PMCAMPUS website for PDU continuing education courses as we regularly add new courses in management and will have ITIL training available in the near future.
Do you have a successful change management strategy you’d like to share with PMCAMPUS? We’d love to hear it- leave a comment!