As important as dealing with change is, the statistics on successfully implementing change in organizations is dismal. According to most studies, more than two thirds of change initiatives fail to achieve their stated objectives. But that does not stop many people from repeating the same old mistakes that have led to this lack of success.
Dealing with the speed the market place moves, how innovation is disrupting long established practices, and the necessity for accelerating and improving responsiveness to clients, managing change is a constant issue for every thoughtful leader – and person.
Do you know why managing change does not work?
Change cannot be managed – it must be led. What I mean by this is that successfully implementing serious change requires crossing a chasm of the unknown, the uncertain, and the ever changing. This requires the perspective and skills of a leader who understands what it takes to create a future of meaningful and valuable outcomes.
Managing activities and processes – the focus of a manager – is most often doomed to failure when major gaps in building the bridge from the current state to the ultimate, high value destination keep popping up. The failures of managing change include:
- Addressing change as a process
- More attention to the execution plan than the communication plan
- Focus on activities instead of engaging their people with the desired result
- Keeping key information secret instead of transparently sharing critical understandings
- Running a to-do list instead of instilling clarity about the vision and goals
Leaders understand the need for clarity of vision, a compelling engagement with the mission, and focus on meaningful results. This includes the need to communicate clearly and consistently, and building flexibility and responsiveness.
Often change introduces gaps you could not anticipate or expect. Leadership requires vigilance in building the bridge between where you are and where you want to be, and very often, revision of the strategies is essential tor realization of the ultimate destination.
Leading – not managing – is the essential mindset for any substantive change in your organization, at every level, from a small team to the whole company. Managing activities keeps the focus on pieces of the puzzle. Leading requires a clear articulation of a compelling vision that focuses everyone on meaningful impact, value, and results. If your people are not moved by the vision of possibilities, and that new, desired state being significantly greater than where they are now – your change is likely fated to fail.