Common Change Management Challenges
In today's ever-changing business environment, organisations are forced to adapt to new customer and market expectations constantly. However, leading a change project is not always an easy task. Today's post explores some of the top challenges that can hinder success.
Change is inevitable for every person and every organisation, especially in our ever-changing digital world where organisations are constantly forced to adapt to new customer and market expectations. Leading an organisation through a change initiative is not always easy. It is not an instantaneous task but instead a journey that requires ongoing attention and that can be hindered by a number of obstacles. Even if those leading the change are following best practices there are often still challenges that arise. Below we explore some of the top challenges that organisations face in relation to leading a change project.
Lack of Executive Support
In the same way that executive support and sponsorship can activate and push change in an organisation, poor executive support can inhibit the progress of any change initiative. This often comes down to employees attributing the importance of any change initiative to how executive leaders sponsor it. Often the lack of executive support can come down to them not thoroughly understanding the purpose of change themselves and this, in turn, can lead to a lack of visibility within the organisation as well as communication barriers, lesser engagement, and lessening support after go-live. A change initiative has the best chance of success when there is leadership buy-in from the outset and they can help lead by example from the top down.
Ineffective communication can lead to confusion and misalignment for key user groups impacted by the change. As a knock-on effect of this, a lot of time and resources can be spent encouraging buy-in, correcting miscommunication, and clarifying roles for those involved in supporting and leading the change. Communication plans should be at the centre of any change initiative as a continual focus. Effective communication should start from the outset and should build awareness, be transparent and align with organisational goals. As discussed previously, executive leaders should echo the same communications from the top down. This ensures all employees at all levels of the business can understand what this change means for them, how it will change and improve their day-to-day as well as how they can support the initiative themselves.
Limited Knowledge of Change Management
A lack of knowledge or limited knowledge is something that can hinder the success of an organisation's change project whether it be a technology implementation or something else. When a general lack of understanding about what change management is and the value it can bring exists within an organisation, it can make acquiring the necessary resources and budgets required for success more difficult. Leadership and managers will be unlikely to assign a budget or employees to a change management initiative when they do not fully understand the value. Change management is not something to be successfully accomplished in a person’s free time or as an ‘on the side’ activity alongside a person’s regular day-to-day job. According to research from Prosci, of projects that had excellent change management in place, 93% met or exceeded objectives compared to 15% for those with poor change management. Similarly, In order to see the maximum return on investment from a project in terms of adoption and usage and to avoid the cost of change resistance, change management should be scoped and accounted for when deciding the scale of a project.
Change Resistant Culture
For some organisations, a history of failed changes can foster resistance to change. Similarly, a culture of internal politics and poor attitudes can encourage employees to have individual priorities and have a more rigid approach to work and therefore a resistance to change. Successful change management depends on the environment where the change is taking place, so being able to manage resistance and individual transitions is critical. Change management can help shift the mindsets of employees which can in turn shift the overall culture of the organisation to be one that is change ready. However, this is often not an easy task and often requires the expertise of a change manager that can help the organisation take a structured approach to change.