Practical Change

Why is it that so many change and transformation projects fail? Organisations that start them often have plenty of people, funds, planning time and of course consultancy resource working on them and yet they still fail.

Personally I have been involved in multiple change initiatives and have recently decided to review all the different aspects of what went well, what went wrong and what conclusions I could draw from it all.

I have looked at how well planning was done, senior level engagement, general staff engagement, organisational history to make changes, technical ability to make changes, workload that businesses had during change as well as staff capabilities to manage change initiatives.

After looking at all of these aspects, as well as reading multiple change management books, the answer has finally dawned upon me. It is an extremely simple answer and unfortunately not a very innovative one. So here it is, it all comes down to:

Can Do Attitude
It really is that simple. If you have people right throughout your organisation who have the ‘Can Do Attitude’ then you can make any change happen, regardless of the scale or complexity involved because one thing every single change programme has in common:

Risks materialise
Issues do come up
Organisations enter uncharted territories for them
And much like explorers discovering new frontiers, success comes down to the right attitude of staff from top to bottom of the organisation.

This is true for any type of change or business transformation, from digital transformation programmes and complete change of business models, to small projects where new bit of software is being rolled out. If there is no ‘can do attitude’ then your organisation will resist any effort and simply will not act upon new initiatives.

So what can one do when the organisation is not ready and you either have silos, ‘we’ve always done it this way’ responses or simple incomprehension of the task ahead?

Essentially it comes down to getting right people within your organisation, depending on the type of change you could do one of the following:

Permanent staff – often a good option when you have selected good candidates and have luxury of time on your side. Permanent members of staff with right attitudes will always be more cost effective, provide ongoing support and constantly challenge your organisation
Consultants – able to quickly bring on board multiple members of team who are able to inject real enthusiasm and will support your staff as changes happen
Interim managers – able to provide a high quality short term solution for senior level positions, where change in thinking is required. Interim managers can also in many cases act as mentors, which makes them even more valuable
Again it all comes down to people and their attitude to make it work.