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Why change implementation fails?

There have been so many times, when the coolest changes do not come true or come true but with less of an explosion or excitement. Why is it so? Why things that look super great on the paper and you feel inspired when people are describing it, do not give the expected outcome?

There are few reasons of why change may become not successful.

  • Not clear goal and what exactly team needs to achieve: there are so many situations, when everything is perfectly described on the paper, but at the end of the day many people still do not understand what is the output that everybody wants to achieve. And I am not talking about those slogans: be customer – centric or be more agile, I am rather talking about the part where those slogans are made into tangible results that company wants to have at the end of the day. For example:

    1. if you want to be more customer – centric – maybe you will setup a process that enables to answer the calls with less of waiting time or maybe product quality will be better and you will get less enquiries about something not working,

    2. if you want to be more agile, maybe you will automate testing or give bigger mandates to the certain levels of your organisation, so that they would not need to run to ask for permission every time.

Whatever is the goal of the change, it needs to be described in a language that everybody understands and is measurable that everybody could see the difference.

  • Lack of belief – this one very much depends on the part whether change and reasoning why it needs to take place is properly described. If it is just a slogan with no clear practical direction, many like to call it “tactical plans”, there is high chance that people wont believe it, therefor will not pay attention or effort to make it happen.

  • Lack of focus – if organisation is running multiple changes at the same time and wants to succeed in all of them – there is a very little chance to make it happen if all those changes are not prioritised according to importance. People being peanut butter spread across everything that is going on, will not give any value or outcome neither to organisation nor to people, who are trying to pull out the result from all the things that they are in charge off. So to make sure that people are focused on the right things, put clear priorities. P.S. there is no such a thing like 5 priorities at the same time and in the same time frame – priorities need to be put from the angle of impatience and urgency.

  • Lack of ownership – many organisations struggle with understanding of who is doing what. The root cause here is that there is lack of understanding of roles and responsibilities. Apart job descriptions there is hardly anything that you can find, where every role would be described with clear linkage to the areas of ownership. If that is not clearly done before the change kicks in, there is a risk that change implementation will take longer as change manager will be busy to find responsible people and most importantly making them act. Once you have described what you want to achieve from your change, indicate clearly who are the specific people participating in the change and what they will be in charge of.

  • Not all or not correct stakeholders engaged - when it comes having the right stakeholders being engaged, it covers not only having people who make decisions, but as well stakeholders who are the best to advertise the change and stakeholders who make the job done. Before you go to the change implementation list down all stakeholders: a) who are needed for decision making, b) who will be the best people to sell it to the organisation, c) who’s teams will be involved.

Final thoughts

To make the change implemented only detailed plan of how you will do it, is not enough, it is important, that clear practical outputs are described, everybody knows what they are in charge of and what everybody expects from them, change has set priority so necessary focus would be kept.


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