Change Management: What Can Go Wrong and How To Prevent It?
Author: Alina Adamenko certified MBTI consultant-practitioner, certified CPBA/CPMA (DISC tools) specialist, certified EQ specialist, coach
There are plenty of reasons why people/companies/organizations cannot or think that they cannot change. The most common phrases that you can hear in such a case are – “we have never done that before”, “we already tried”, “it`s very costly”, “we don’t have time”, “not our problem”, “why should we change what`s already working?”. Still, with unexpected crisis or market change we understand that changes are crucial.
Step 1. Force field analysis – where can pitfalls hide?
At company X a time has come to choose new General Manager from the Board of Directors. There were two candidates, with prevailing majority of votes from colleagues and subordinates belonging to one of them. It seemed that everything was clear and transparent and changes with such huge support from the staff and the Board should have passed smoothly. New GM has been appointed, but the company found itself on the brink of bankruptcy – the other candidate, who waited for this position forever and was deeply offended by lack of support, cut all the company relations with banks – as this was under his direct jurisdiction.
So, what is more influential – number of supporters, or who exactly is resisting changes?
In order for any changes to pass smoothly it`s important to analyze what is called “force field of changes” – determine and evaluate driving forces that support changes and resistance forces. Those can be people, resources, system, processes, market etc.
In such case algorithm will be the following:
- Brainstorm list of forces that support and hinder changes
- Determine key forces using Pareto principle
- Creating action plan based on conducted analysis
Therefore, before launching any changes we will already know which critical points we should address foremost.
Step 2. Formula for Change – are we ready?
How ready we are for changes? Do we have whatever it takes to launch changes? Why sometimes we want to change something but we never start and everything remains the same?
Empirical Formula for change or Gleicher formula (by surname of one of its creators) demonstrates balance of resources necessary to start any organizational or personal changes:
D x V x F > R, where
D – dissatisfaction with current state
V – vision of the future, final result of changes
F – understanding of the first steps needed to change
R – resistance to changes or cost of changes
Any changes become possible and secured only by abiding this formula.
If we are content with what we have (D=0) or we think that everything is ok, even with understanding what incredible new heights we can reach, we will not change: “why should we change what`s already working fine?”
If we don’t understand where changes will lead us (V=0), they will seem too risky: “this will lead us nowhere”
If we don’t know what to start with (F=0), changes can seem too complicated and most probably we`ll postpone them till better times: “it`s too complicated”, “we don’t have time/people/resources for this”
If resistance or cost of changes are too high and influential, in order to implement and secure changes foremost we have to reduce or neutralize them.
Thus, planning change project evaluate disposition and balance of forces, check if you have all what`s needed to start the project and if your key staff if properly brought up to date.