By David Miller
Change is becoming more frequent, radical and complex. Failure rates of change projects are high because organisations fail to implement the change fully. To overcome these challenges, the knowledge, skills and processes must be developed by people inside the organisation.
The leadership challenge
Demand for deep, sustainable change in organisations is being driven hard by forces coming from all directions. Radical disruptions to competition, regulation, technology and customer expectations are creating an almost constant need for change. Shareholders are demanding more, from fewer resources. Empowered and innovative employees are mandated to find new ways to enhance profitability, business performance and competitive advantage—faster than ever before. This new type of change is more difficult and complex. Business-critical global, regional and local change agendas are frequently overlapping, and often conflicting. Employees are becoming better educated and more questioning; they are much less receptive to autocratic, compliance driven leadership styles. While transformational change is difficult, disruptive and expensive, organisations are often faced with no real choice when the alternatives—standing still or putting faith in a superficial ‘quick fix’—are even riskier options.
Having a clever strategy is not enough—and successful organisations should proactively develop the internal capacity to implement change faster and more effectively than their competitors. Each change initiative must deliver the intended benefits and contribute to developing overall change capacity. If corporate adaptability is to become embedded into the organisational culture, a prerequisite is that organisations successfully implement individual initiatives. Yet research consistently reveals high failure rates for transformational change initiatives:
• according to many independent studies seven out of ten change efforts that are critical to organisational success fail to • • • • achieve their intended results.
• independent IT research firm Gartner Group reports that for major corporate systems investments: