Forget Change Management
by Stephen Warrilow
Recently I have read 2 blogs by highly respected change practitioners both contemplating why, despite the abundance of knowledge about how to lead and manage change, the failure rate remains at about 70%.
In Forget Change Management Holger Nauheimer argues:
- Everything is change
- The terminology is a problem - "change" is a war term
- Change cannot be managed
- Models don't work
- We need to change the way we think about change
In an executive briefing Why 70% of Changes Fail - And What You Can Do About It
taken from his latest book "Beyond the Wall of Resistance" Rick Maurer
identifies four major reasons why organisational changes fail:
(1) Lack of knowledge
(2) Lack of skill and practice
(3) Hidden conflicts working against change
(4) Culture working against change.
Arguably it isn't the models, concept and body of work on change management and change leadership that is at fault - maybe the problem is twofold:
(1) The knowledge isn't applied, and that is because
(2) Senior people are not accountable for their failures.
Can you imagine the world of civil engineering living with a 70% failure rate? Or many other comparable disciplines, where the cost of failure (by every definition of corporate failure) is so massive that senior execs cannot afford to allow it to happen - so they up their game.
Take the world of M&A which has comparable failure rates (to change management) in terms of shareholder no-value added + straight forward destruction of shareholder value, and where (as with change management) the failure reasons - virtually all cultural and people related - are well researched and documented - but does it make any difference?
Of course not.
Because of the fee structure of the "advisors" and the short-term related remuneration of the senior execs.
What's your view?