Awareness followed by Action leads to Change Project Success
Want to improve your change project success rates? Since the average success rate is only 41%, then 59% are failing in some way. Yet, when researching the highly successful change masters of the business world, their success rate was a stunning 80%. That my friend is a high return on investment. If you want to move into the ranks of successful change masters, then the first step is simple…
You must gain insight or true awareness of reality and then launch an action plan.
So how do you make this happen? Early awareness of resistance to change or for that matter – any issues that pop up during the beginning phases of a change project need clear and decisive action plans and steps. Change projects are usually require simultaneous changes in your people’s mindsets, attitudes, culture and complexity issues. Such changes do not happen on there own, they need to be aggressively dealt with by the leaders of the organization.There are four practical steps to improving success rates for your change projects. Here are the four steps…
- Link to History – Provide your change leaders with access to historical data, survey data, cultural assessments and history lessons from long time staff members. Then actively engage the people involved in the change process and older projects. Learn from both good and bad experiences, what worked and didn’t work and discuss the connections to the current change process.
- Examine the Big Picture – Examine the project’s scope, the likely impact of the project and the expected outcomes carefully. Assess the dimensions of the change – people, culture, and organizational impact. A full review of your current processes and technology levels is necessary to evaluate what needs attention for success. Be realistic in determining the necessary change and then communicate to everyone in the organization.
- Adjust Plans for Unexpected – Understanding the complexities related to your change projects, you can build a contingency plan to address potential issues or unexpected obstacles. Communicate the base plan and ask for additional ideas, methods or issues of potential conflict. Ask people for possible solutions. The key – be prepared to adapt your plan as frequently as needed to deal with the unexpected issues.
- Long View Focus – Contrary to most organizational focus, long term views lead to greater success than short term views. When looking at change projects you need to be prepared to continue the execution of action plans well past the project deadlines if you want real value from the project. Remember the “soft skill side of organizations” – mindsets, culture, beliefs and attitudes – are more difficult to change, especially in the short term. Real change in these areas takes time, patience, consistency and continuous actions to be effective. Then, be prepared to go deeper into the organization with your change activities, if you want it to stick and build true value.
In conclusion, for your change projects to be successful, it requires a complete understanding of the coming challenges and complexities followed by specific action steps to ensure success. Lack of early detection leads to higher risks of failure, which is a proven productivity drain on organizations.
One last point, beware of underestimating the complexity of behavioral and cultural changes necessary for successful change projects. Take time to think though the possible issues that could derail your project efforts. Advance planning, including contingency plans will improve your success rates substantively.