Business

3 major hurdles to organisational change

Are you looking to make changes within your organisation? It may be worth being aware of these major hurdles prior to making such changes, so that you could make a plan to get around, or over them, if they crop up.

1. Resistance

It’s a sobering thought to read that 75% of organisational change programs are unsuccessful especially when change is vital for companies to grow. Nothing stays static and even companies who have prided themselves on doing things a certain way for many years have to update at least some of their procedures to stay relevant and in the game.

So if change is both a natural and imperative fact of life – why does it often go so wrong?

The answer to this question is that resistance is also a natural fact of life. Change can be for good or bad and if employees interpret it as bad then it is naturally seen as a threat. Resistance is natural; especially if leadership quality is poor and a great deal of the failure of organizational change programs is thought to be down to poor leadership.

Change management consultants are very aware that any changes poorly executed will result in resentment, low morale and loss of focus and productivity. Done positively however and the company can move onwards and upwards even if some employees are initially negatively affected by issues such as redundancy. After all – it is those at the helm that are usually imitating the change and responsible for driving it forward. Excellent leadership will respect and support staff wherever possible; even if they are no longer going to be part of the ship!

2. Confusion

If uncertainty prevails, whether it’s connected to resistance or uncertainty regarding new systems and procedures then this presents another major hurdle that can quickly result in a downward spiral of mistrust, gossip and lack of motivation.

It is imperative that clear communication (initiated by leadership) presides over any period of change so that every member of staff knows what is happening, what to expect and how to execute new tasks. If employees are not given a framework in which to operate, then things can quickly go awry with staff left floundering and the organizational change deemed a failure when it could have so easily been a success.

3. Habit

Tied to resistance and confusion is force of habit. When old procedures and systems have been followed they start to feel “comfortable” even if they are no longer as effective as new ones. When it’s out with the old and in with the new; it may not be a conscious decision to resist change because habits could be described as actual things that are hard to break – they literally become “wired” into our brains through repetition that may have been carried out for months if not years.

This is where, again, the quality of leadership is so important – something that would be emphasized in a facilitation skills training course. Encouraging management to recognise that new habits take time to form, easing employees’ fears and confusion and implementing changes in stages rather than “overnight”, will go a long way to overcoming any hurdles and ensure that organizational change is a success.

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