We have a message for change managers and project managers – they need to develop their knowledge and skills around change readiness. They need to understand why it offers the opportunity to achieve much better change outcomes for organisations.
But before we get to that, we want to acknowledge the importance of change managers and project managers. The knowledge and skills they bring to change projects contributes significantly to success. We in no way want to underestimate their importance.
Although effective change management is critical, it is not ultimately what makes change projects succeed. Organisations consist of many types of stakeholders, and when change is occurring, managers are not the only group of stakeholders affected by the changes or with the power to influence outcomes. In fact, they are not usually the group with the most power to affect outcomes.
Project success or failure depends mostly on the support, adaptability, and agility of other employees – usually the ones under the managers’ direction. Success depends on their willingness and capacity to adapt to new expectations and practices, and to let go of what was formerly accepted practice. If they fail to engage in the change process and decide to resist it, the project is in real trouble.
Research reveals two important reasons why change fails. It shows that 72% of change fails because key stakeholders don’t buy-in, don’t fully engage, and become resistant. What this implies is that managers aren’t very good at overcoming these threats. If they were, disengagement and resistance wouldn’t happen so much.
For decades it has been known that organisation change fails about 70% of the time. One cold argue that failure is the default position.
And maybe it’s not all that surprising. After all, people develop habits, expectations, comfort and safety zones, cultural norms, and patterned ways of thinking. People get used to doing things in certain ways, and it’s not easy to give them up and adapt to new ways. It’s easier to stay with what is familiar.
And that’s why change readiness matters. Nearly 80 years ago, Kurt Lewin, a pioneer in the field of organisational change, told us that organisational change requires unfreezing, change, and refreezing. Many people assume that change readiness is about unfreezing – rattling the cage and helping people let go of their old ways of thinking and working so they can make a space for the new ways that are coming in.
But change readiness is much more than that. It’s not only readiness to let go of the old but also readiness to succeed at the new. It’s not primarily about being ready to begin change but, but being ready to succeed in the end.
So, change readiness is important but most people don’t really understand it. As a change or project manager, you need a solid understanding of what it is and how to work with it.
Change readiness is not just another approach in how to manage change. It’s much more fundamental than that. It is process-related, not mechanistic and it works with any approach you choose – whether waterfall or agile.
So, reach out to us to find out more about change readiness and managing change. It is our special field of knowledge – one that we have been researching and working in for 20 years.
Why not book a time now?