In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common reasons why change programmes fail.
Lack of urgency – a change programme will never get going if there is no sense of urgency. People will keep putting it off if there’s no burning platform. Therefore, you must know and inform everyone of why the change needs to happen and why it needs to happen now.
Lack of vision – people need a vision so they know the destination of the change. What is it you’re trying to achieve? This should be easy to understand and communicated across the organisation. Everyone needs to know what they’re doing and what part they play.
No senior management support – change programmes, especially large organisational change programmes such as continuous improvement, need senior management support. The senior management team need to work together and lead the way for change. This will show the rest of the organisation the commitment for change.
Blockers and obstacles – it’s common for change projects to hit obstacles. Therefore, it’s essential that there is a method for removing any obstacles – this may require support from senior management which reinforces the importance of the role they play in change programmes.
Celebrate the battles to win the war – large scale change programmes may take several years to be fully completed. People will lose energy and confidence over this time, so it’s important to celebrate and demonstrate the successes along the way in order to keep the momentum going.
Not making changes stick – making change is the easy part, making it stick is the hard part. Once improvements are in place they must be measured, monitored and standardised, otherwise there is always the risk that people will revert back to the old ways of working.
Valuing tools over the philosophy – it’s common for people who are new to continuous improvement to focus on the tools. Continuous improvement is not simply a set of tools. Understanding people, culture change and the philosophy/methodology used are all massively important in any continuous improvement programme.
Quitting too soon – like everything in life continuous improvement requires work and commitment. You’ll likely face projects that fail or stop, but it’s important to learn from this and keep going forward.
Confusing training with doing – is another reason why change programmes fail. Reading a book about climbing a mountain is not the same as climbing a mountain. The same goes with continuous improvement. Training people in Lean Six Sigma or other continuous improvement methods won’t automatically give you a company of continuous improvement. The people need to work on improvement projects which are aligned with the strategy.
“We’re different” – many organisations still today say to us “But we’re different”. Organisations are run by people working in processes and all these processes can and should be continually improved.
“We don’t need help” – of course it’s possible to achieve your improvement goals without external help, but it’ll likely take a lot longer and cost you more money in the long run. Experienced and qualified consultants can guide you in the right direction. They don’t need to be experts in your industry, what matters is how good and knowledgeable they are in continuous improvement.
I hope this article on the most common reasons why change programmes fail has been of value. Don’t forget to comment below or ask any questions.