Here’s more evidence of the difficulty many professionals face in bringing about change in their organizations.
This latest poll adds to others taken last year during my presentations to Project Management Chapters, Institutional Researchers and HR professionals.
How many more failed changes do we have to go through before leaders and senior management recognize the need to align people for change?
Getting people on the same page takes courage but is an essential ingredient for their professionals to be successful. Too often, the alignment process is not understood or committed to by leaders. Too often it’s left to those with little power and influence, like trainers, project managers and other professionals. It’s no wonder that changes fail due to lack of middle manager’s and other’s buy-in. There are five main reasons for this condition:
- 70% of Leaders’ expectations of those implementing a change are either not known or not understood
- Many leaders think that job descriptions and performance management systems absolve them from this aspect of leadership. So, are often disappointed when people do what they have always done.
- Many leaders confuse 360 degree and other survey methods with getting people on the same page. Yes, they are a useful diagnostic but the reality is that change is personal before its organizational. It’s how leaders engage and use such survey results that matters.
- Many leader’s think that their stated expectations is sufficient to get their people on the same page. They don’t realize the importance of eliciting their people’s expectations of them.
- When leaders gain agreement of their expectations of they often believe they have done their job, when in fact, it has only just started in terms of supporting and developing those expected to deliver on their expectations
Note: This poll was taken during my session with the Association of Talent Development (ATD) in Boise. (2/11/16.
For readers of my recent posts you will see a strong similarity between Project Managers and Trainers. And while these results are based on a small sample they are strikingly similar to the research we did for Focusing Change to Win
Too often people can see the value of a change for their organization (WIIFY –What’s In It For You)
but don’t get how it benefits them (WIIFM – What’s In It For Me).
Recently, I tested how well 65 HR Professionals thought their organizations fared in getting their WIIFM message across when communicating change.
During my presentation “The Power of Persuasion” I asked participants to rate their answers to 10 questions from “5” Very Well to “1” Not Well.
What follows is a summary of those questions where over 30% rated Not Well (i.e. ratings of 1 or 2).
How would you rate your own organization? (please give me your ratings by commenting to this post)
- How well do you monitor employee’s sense of fairness and trust? – 53%
- How well are you set up to ensure that real change will be the outcome of change communication? – 53%
- How well have you developed your strategy to engage employees from all disciplines in training them in how and where to initiate a change? – 45%
- How effectively do you ensure there are programs and tools in place to grow the capabilities and skills of employees that grow the business? – 32%
- How well have you planned for regular communication to inform people of every step taken, with the why, what, where, and when? – 32%
- How effectively do you ensure that all your people know and understand your change rationale? – 33%
This snapshot could be discounted as a small sample if it were not for the similarity of our survey findings.(1000+ business leaders and change consultants from 80 countries in 19 industry sectors). As we said:
“Our concerns deepened when analyzing poor communication, leadership, and resistance to change comments. Some contributor comments read like a litany of limited, delayed, inconsistent and unclear communication with poor leaders who don’t communicate how a change will work or be implemented.
For many contributors depleted and absent communication accounts for a major reason why their people do not adapt well. As one contributor commented:
“No wonder change fails, and no wonder more change fails when people experience poorly implemented change.”
For these contributors, leaders do not prepare their people for change especially how it will affect them. They allow the rumor mill to grind out a flour of Fear Uncertainty and Doubt”.
Essentially, a major reason for failed change is when poor communication increases fear, uncertainty, and doubt. These feelings are the core of change resistance. These emotions are ignored at your peril if your change effort is to stand a chance of building people’s commitment, openness, and willingness to change. (Nwosu & Anderson 2014)