At the beginning of this three part blog series, I shared that 70% of changes executives attempt to make in the business fail. It’s unconscionable that such an investment continues to happen without more decision makers changing how they cause change.
The high failure rate can be reduced. In this final post in the series, we look at two other organizational areas that can help executives realize the money spent to improve the company. And we’re framing this series in the context of a new service in a company.
When a company introduces a new service, employees at all levels must be ready to support it. Here are some prompts for planning to help leaders roll out this type of change.
- What are the desired behaviors required for the service to be successful? For example:
o Empathy? Being proactive?
o Do managers need to coach more to help bring out the new behaviors?
o What is the degree of difficulty to encourage the new behavior? If it’s difficult, the predominant management style needs to be encouraging and patient. If the right behaviors aren’t encouraged, employees may resist, and seriously delaying the implementation of the new service. Or the service may not bring the financial results anticipated.
- What skills are needed of employees to succeed in offering the new service?
o New sales techniques?
o Different customer service skills?
o Navigating a new computer system?
People resist change forced upon them. Employees are no different. Carefully assess what will be needed and begin openly talking with employees about what will be needed from them.
If employees will need new skills and expectations have changed, then you must automatically plan to investigate your people practices – or your Attraction/Selection processes. So many companies overlook this bucket of work. Your people practices help sustain the changes you make to the business. Don’t take the shortcut.
- Look at your hiring practices:
o Are your job posting aligned with the changed expectations of employees?
o If you do behavioral interviewing, update the questions for the positions that will change because of the new service.
o Update duty statements or job requirements
o Update performance appraisals.
A key point with this area is to ensure you are reinforcing the behavior changes, new skills, and management expectations.
Finally, investing resources to change the business should also include systems to reinforce the new or changed expectations. Again, more prompts to help think through how to defy the 70% change failure rate:
- Evaluate if employee compensation and pay is effected by the new service. I personally don’t like going solely by what the market will bear for a position. My People Officer cringes; however, we want to work with top talent. That means paying for it. Bottom line here is to look to see if the job needs to be compensated – more or less.
- With the new service, is a new incentive plan or enhancement to an existing one needed?
- For difficult behaviors, consider a temporary incentive to reward the desired behaviors.
- How will you measure the services ability to generate value?
- If you use a Balanced Scorecard, does it need to be updated given the new service?
So there you have it: the final installment in a three part series on defying the 70% change failure rate. Re-read the three posts to see the holistic approach presented.
There is no reason leaders can’t reduce the percentage of failed change initiatives.
Please share other prompts relevant to one of the three areas presented in today’s post.