October 2, 2017 by Nab

Change is the only constant!

You are not who you were yesterday, last week, last month or last year. 12 months of new experiences and challenges mean that we have evolved to be creatures of change. But if we implicitly accept change as part of our life, why do up to 70% of change programmes that are part of day-to-day working life, fail?

At the Driving Change Conference held recently in London, speakers and delegates explored the reasons why engaging Leaders & Employees in change can really lead to real improvements in the bottom line. But if nearly 70% of change projects fail, wouldn’t we do better in just doing nothing and not spend all that time and money?

The fact is that some organisations get it right and unless we want to go the same way as the likes of Compaq, Polaroid, Blockbuster and Kodak, we need to look beyond the usual reasons that they did not adapt to the new realities. Adapting to change was central to the range of topics explored at Driving Change – the four key areas of success focusing on Purpose, People, Process and Progress.

Purpose: What is the new reality? How the organisation confirms and signals its commitment to driving change: Strategy, Purpose and Values.
People: Creating opportunities for employees to gain insights into ingrained beliefs and behaviours; helping them make a positive choice to be part of the new brand culture.
Process: The process of proactively shaping the environment and employee experience to accelerate and enhance the change effort.
Progress: Designing approaches to keep the culture change on track and measure the business impact of the new culture.

It’s January: the new CEO wants to drive “Shareholder Value” and create a new way of engaging with our clients and so implements a strategy. Consultants are hired to advise on the new reality in a digital world, organisational structures, processes and systems are redesigned to create efficiency and a better “Customer Experience”; budgets are agreed and timelines agreed and off we go: Shoot, Point, Aim!

These “hard elements’ of driving change (Purpose, Process and Progress) are easy and necessary but not sufficient for success. But the CEO’s timing is driving the project because addressing the “soft element” of People requires time: to communicate, listen, adjust and change behaviour.

And this is where the hidden value lies in the 30% of projects that truly enact successful change – they are committed to bringing their teams along with them. They take the time to understand and develop the right skills and behaviours for success but they are also uncompromising in driving results.

But maybe Dilbert (as ever the guru of organisations globally) puts it best:

driving change cartoon

Balancing the four elements of change – Purpose, Process, People and Progress – and ensuring we give time for our staff to truly engage with the change not only ensures the change implemented is the ‘best fit’ plan for the organisation – it also ensures there are mechanisms in place to make the change ‘sticky’.