A new consulting Client is struggling with organizational change in an industry that is experiencing rapid change. The pressures on this company to reduce costs while improving customer service is some of the most ruthless we’ve seen. We’re helping them completely overhaul their systems and processes as well as leadership practices and culture. Understandably, there’s lots of nervousness about getting this right. Their CEO asked me for examples of other companies that have failed in their change process and what they could learn from those experiences.
I’ve studied and written about the key issue of how companies fail in their change process quite extensively over the past twenty-five years. The problem is that it’s a bit like asking why people die pre-maturely. The reasons are many, complex, and often situation specific.
It is an organization leadership question that has been studied extensively by many people. I have synthesized some of this research and our own experience in my article “Why Most Change and Improvement Initiatives Fail.” You can read it here.
You can get deeper into many of “The Top Five Failure Factors” from the above article through reading these sections of The Leader Letter:
- January 2004 – http://dev.clemmergroup.com/newsl/jan2004.html — under the item “Keys to Effective Reward and Recognition” scroll down to “Assessing Management Commitment.” This continuum is key to Failure Factor #5.
- June 2005 – http://dev.clemmergroup.com/newsl/june2005.html — both “Common Causes of Priority Overload” and “Steps to a Goal Deployment System” get at Failure Factor #1.
- May 2006 – http://dev.clemmergroup.com/newsl/may2006.html — the first three sections get at Failure Factor #5.
- July 2006 — http://dev.clemmergroup.com/newsl/july2006.html. The first article, re-printed from one of my Globe & Mail columns, continues this critical discussion of leadership behavior. The second item is a positive example from Barrick Gold. Click on the “tool” hyperlink (last word in second paragraph) for a good look at how they are defining effective leadership behavior at all levels.
The impact of many of the above points can be summarized in my article “Bolt-on Programs or Built-In Culture Change”.
The CLEMMER Group’s organizational consulting and customized training business continues to be the fastest growing part of our business. That’s in large part because of executive consultant Scott Schweyer and our training designers’/facilitators’ highly Client effective work. You can learn more about what we offer here.