Does your IT change initiative have a 70% chance of failure or a 70% chance of success?

A real-world example of the value of leadership and coaching.

Numerous studies* indicate that change initiatives have a 70% likelihood of failing. Obviously, organizations want a much better return on investment when changing their processes, culture, strategies, or software.

Lean Six Sigma

Why do change initiatives fail?

Many times consultants are brought in to help organizations design a transformation plan and navigate the inevitable obstacles. When the consultants leave, however, a void can be created when there is no one poised to pick up the baton and lead the change long-term.

One client comes to mind to illustrate this void. This client was implementing an enterprise-wide process standardization across five locations. Their lowest performing location had failed to implement change for many years and their people no longer had faith that change could be successful. Multiple consulting firms, including SDLC Partners, came and went with minimal improvements that quickly deteriorated soon after the consultants left.

What turned things around?

New leadership was assigned to that location and that leader was highly invested in developing his leaders and empowering them to pick up the baton of change. Additionally, this client got behind our “organizational change management” framework (see right) that gave them a disciplined, project management approach coupled with a well thought out strategy that will mitigate the natural human resistance to proactive change.

Organizational-Change-Management-Framework
With our help, we re-implement the original process that failed under the prior leadership and, together, this client realized outstanding success. In fact, operational efficiencies rose by 25 percent, and we were able to reduce lost opportunities by $8 million per month.

Our recommended process was exactly the same as before. We made no changes. The sole change was the client’s investment in leadership, mentoring and coaching with a focus on maintaining the momentum of positive change. Plus, they were dedicated to an integrated approach to their change process.

How can you flip the odds in your favor?

Raise the leadership effectiveness and coaching capabilities of your leaders.
Just as in our client example, change will challenge people’s comfort zones. Change disrupts routines and ways of thinking. Your leaders, too, are challenged to change how they lead their people. As we’ve seen with this client and many others, the key to changing the odds of a successful change initiative comes down to building the right habits with the support of strong change leadership.

Through leadership training focused on managing and maintaining positive change, as well as helping to hone coaching competencies, your staff can become your internal agents of change.

In fact, research* shows that effective leaders who coach their people, remove the obstacles to successful change. And, when organizations do this, they raise their chances of success from 50 percent to 70 percent.

Going from 70 percent chance of failure to a 70 percent chance of success based on training and coaching is a powerful insurance policy to back up your change investment.

Empowering change leadership

Where should you start?

One of the best starting places we’ve used with our clients facing or starting a change initiative is hosting a “Leading Change Workshop.” Here, leadership teams have a chance to embody key principles to leading successful change initiatives and experience the value of coaching competency. By building their coaching approach and prowess, they are empowered to become your change champions. And, with any client change initiative, we suggest implementing a proven change management methodology. When coupled with leadership training and coaching competencies, your leadership can build change mastery and catalyze sustainability that makes change stick.

Resources:
Study Titled “Silence Fails” by Vital Smarts & The Concours Group in 2006
Harvard Business Review “Cracking the Code of Change” May-June 2000

Point of View Author

Paul Taylor
Director, Office of the CIO Services

Point of View Author

Chris Waters
Senior Consultant
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