Why Good Change Management is Essential

The world is in a constant state of change and we cannot escape the impact of change either in our personal or professional lives.

In organisations, change can be a simple, self-contained project such as refurbishing an office, or it can have a profound impact on the organisations fundamental purpose. If handled badly, such changes can have disastrous consequences for the entire organisation.

Just take a look at these statistics:

·         60% of Change projects fail to meet objectives

·         Nearly 50% of mergers fail, usually due to people factors such as fear, anger, stress, cynicism & denial

·         60% of executives report changing mind-sets and attitudes is the biggest challenge

·         Only 43% of employees are confident in their organisation's change process

·         Only 47% agree leaders communicate change well

·         Organisations that do not manage change well are 4 times more likely to lose talent.

Statistics from IBM Global Study(2008) and global study by Right Management, (July 2011)

                           

Change Management can be described as:

“A structured approach to shifting/transitioning Individuals, teams and organisations from a current state to a desired future state.”

(Wikipedia 2012)

What is important about this definition is the focus on the people side of change. Organisations often get caught up in the ‘thing’ being changed such as a process, system, building and so on. However, it is people who go through change and successful management of change is about transitioning people from a previous state to a new state in the most effective and hopefully ‘least painful’ way.

Typically changes within an organisation will have an impact on one or more of the following:

  • Organisational Structure or Culture
  • Processes - how work is carried out and who carries it out
  • Information and data
  • Technology

The common factor is that these elements all require input (and buy-in) from people in order to work. 

So the first challenge for change leaders is to understand the ‘people perspective’.

The second challenge for change leaders today is not just to identify what needs to change, but to identify how to manage that change as part of an overall strategy of organisational change. In other words, to understand the totality of change happening in an organisation, and then understand how this element fits in to that landscape. This approach is vital to ensure that the required outcome is achieved, scarce resources are used effectively across all change initiatives, and importantly, that the impact of one change does not have a negative effect on another.

The simple answer to why management of change is vital is that getting change wrong costs organisations money, lots of money! The worldwide cost of IT project failure alone is over $6 trillion (Michael Krigsman, www.znet.com, 2009).