Change Management is a rapidly growing industry that has worked its way into everyday business conversations. It makes sense. It is said that the only certainties in life are death and taxes - I would add a third point and that is change. Especially important in the current business climate, change is a frequent occurrence. Information is available at a rapid pace, industries change with a frequency that has not been seen before and nimble, lean companies are able to pivot and get ahead of these trends.
We are beginning to see companies focus on change and creating a culture that is adept at modifying actions to create results. Companies that embrace change and empower their culture ultimately leap ahead in this ultra competitive business climate. How? How are some institutions able to adapt while others flounder in turmoil and ultimately stick with the status quo because it is easier?
It has been widely speculated that an estimated 75% of change efforts fail. This is a dubious figure because we do not know how the change has been measured (if at all), if proper goals were set or the criteria for a successful change. For an industry that is experiencing significant growth, standardization, clarity and understanding is lacking. You can argue that the change management industry is failing to adapt to its own growth.
Once again we ask, how do companies develop high performance cultures and embrace change? The most successful companies employ applied behavioral science in their workforce. Developing change management protocols, communication plans, training schedules etc.. are important pieces of the puzzle, but, at the end of the day if you as an organization (or a leader) are not able to influence and direct behavior, you HAVE NOT CHANGED A THING. All of the planning in the world will not make up for behavior that remains static.
How do organizations go about changing behavior and designing change for long term success?
Here are some common traits that you will find:
Leadership teams model the behaviors they want to see. Do what I say not what I do does not fly - anywhere.
The C-Suite is transparent and everyone from the front line to the boardroom feels invested in what the company is doing
Executives ask for input from everyone and they mean it!
Change goals are clear, measurable and available for everyone to digest.
Every employee knows how their specific role impacts the change goals
By understanding specific goals, leadership can understand specific behaviors that will allow for success
Environments are created to support behavior change
Success is recognized (even the little ones)
Change agents are developed to encourage and activate the ones who struggle the most
This is not by any means an exhaustive list, but you are able to get a clear picture of what is going on. Next time you are struggling with change in your organization take a step back and think - are you setting your team up to win?