Digital transformation is fundamentally changing company’s mission-critical processes and operations. When carried out correctly, it can change the way your company works, thinks, and addresses challenges. As a C-suite business leader, if you want to eliminate silos between business units and IT, you need a change management plan that addresses culture as much as technology.
According to Mc. Kinsey & company; 70% of changes attempted in an organization fail, and this failure rate has been consistent for decades. Despite billions in investment and a plethora of literature on this subject, change management is still difficult for brands to manage, implement, and successfully master.
To evaluate why change management fails, let’s start by understanding the theory. Change management is a systematic approach to deal with the transition or transformation of an organization’s goals, processes, or technologies. It’s easy for an organization to think of change management in terms of process and technology, but it’s difficult to fully comprehend how the attitudes and behavior of staff members impact this process. Staff often become threatened or skeptical when organizations attempt any changes. For instance, if a company wants to make the transition from a physical software to a cloud-based model, it needs to divert employees’ focus towards the importance of implementing this change. This may be a straightforward task for the team who have been assigned this transition, but some employee may grow cynical or take this change as unwanted work or responsibilities. Under such a circumstance it gets challenging for a leader to keep his/her team motivated. But why is it that people resist change? Is it just because people take digitalization as a threat or there is more to it? Below are few prime reasons why change is a difficult process:
Reason #1:Absence of a sense of urgency: When an organization fails to explain its intent to change, the value and advantages of implementing change are lost. Without purpose and urgency, internal stakeholders fail to understand how change will benefit and improve the overall business. A sense of urgency will only happen when the internal stakeholders understand and accept that the status quo is no longer viable.
Reason #2: Lack of vision: Carrying out change simply because your competitors are doing so, is the worst justification for change. An organization should set a clear vision as to what it wants to achieve by putting the change into effect and what the future looks like after the change is implemented. It should create a sensible and appealing picture of the future. A successful change vision and strategy will identify the areas of change, provide clear and realistic targets for measuring success, and appeal to the long-term interests of organizational stakeholders.
Reason #3: Poor leadership: Change without leadership can cause chaos or distrust in employees, causing the vision of the change to be lost. Poor leadership results in negative responses from employees and instability within the organization. In organizations where top management executives are not ready to lead the change, employees end up playing the blame-game by trying to figure out who to blame when it fails. According to a recent Gartner survey, 60% of business leaders don’t truly understand the possibilities associated with using next-gen technology. It’s not always a CIO or tech team’s job to understand what IoT, Big Data, AI can do for customers’ or the company. Rather it’s a responsibility of every single leader in the company to have a “digital acumen”.
Reason #4: Reluctance to Change: It’s a belief that 10% of people will always remain reluctant to change. People resist because they do not find a need to change and do not want to step out of their comfort zone. Generally, resistance to change starts within middle management as they’re concerned about the unwanted work or responsibilities. So, it’s important for leaders to demonstrate why change is required and show them the bigger picture of the change.
Change is hard, but not impossible. In that light, lets focus our attention on identifying these core reasons and make change management journey less bumpy.