Change Management

Navigating the people aspect of change journeys

Why change initiatives fail

Change is often a response to internal and external factors. The external drivers include political developments, social issues, technological advancements, and shifts in the economy. Developments within the organisation can include changes in the company’s management policies or approach, internal systems, procedures, or even employee behaviors and attitudes.

Transformation efforts face three major obstacles, as identified by a PWC study on Strategy and Culture’s Role in Enabling Organizational Change:

What is effective change management?

lack of capabilities

A lack of capabilities to sustain change

lower level employees

Excluding lower level employees in the change plans

change fatigue

Change fatigue

1. A lack of capabilities to sustain change

48% of respondents say their companies do not have the necessary capabilities to deliver and sustain the change. Quy Huy, Professor of Strategic Management at INSEAD identified that failures in strategy execution is often due leaders lacking emotional literacy to achieve employee alignment and overcome resistance.

48%

do not have the capabilities to deliver and sustain the change

Failures in strategy execution is often due leaders lacking emotional literacy.
What are the contributing factors?

A lack of relational skills in managers

Supporting their staff in times of change also involves being able to understand their subtle nonverbal cues in order to address underlying issues.

Managers are lacking the relational skills such as being able to listen empathically which is necessary in order to develop an emotional engagement with their staff so that they can coach them through the necessary changes.

2. Exclusion of lower level employees in developing and executing the change plan

Senior managers have a tendency to exclude lower-level employees in the selection, planning and implementation of change initiatives.

This lack of engagement limits understanding and buy-in. 44% of surveyed respondents say they don’t understand the change they are asked to make and 38% say they don’t agree with it.

44%

don’t understand the change they are asked to make

What are the contributing factors?

Senior Management not recognising and responding to the thoughts and emotions of stakeholders

Relationally adept leaders are able to involve different stakeholders and staff levels in formulating the change plan. Senior Management may not possess the relational skills to be perceptive of the thoughts and emotions of the various stakeholders. This may cause they to be less likely to have the credibility to lead the change.

Not having the relational skill makes it challenging for the leaders to:

  • Understand the concerns on the ground
  • Respond in an appropriate way to solve problems
  • Create the buy-in necessary to drive change

3. Change fatigue

Change fatigue is a general sense of apathy or resignation towards organisational change.
It often occurs when employees are being asked to follow through on too many changes at once. 65% of survey respondents say they have experienced this.

65%

experienced being asked to follow through on too many changes

Employees who are more resilient are better able to manage the discomfort of the changes
What are the contributing factors?

Insufficient personal resilience

One of the contributing factors that cause change fatigue is the lack of personal resilience. Employees who are more resilient are better able to manage the discomfort of the changes, This allows them to remain productive instead of being overwhelmed by change fatigue and paralysed into inaction.

Our Perspective

Why change initiatives fail?