Every year organisations large and small spend lots of time and money dealing with change.  Not because they particularly want to, but because they have to to stay ahead of the game and ahead of the competition.

If you’re in business you can’t afford to struggle with change.  Technology, social change, and market dynamics all impact your operations. When competitors become more adaptable and agile than you, they will out-compete you.

To be successful and grow you have to know how to make change work in your favour – how to turn necessity and adversity into opportunity.

BE AWARE OF THE ODDS

You’ve no doubt heard of the high failure-rate of organisational change.  Most researchers agree that it’s around 70% – a figure that’s been pretty constant for the last 70 years. Here’s what that actually means:

  • change is hard
  • change is risky
  • for most organisations the outcomes are poorer than hoped for
  • change usually takes longer than expected
  • change usually costs more than expected

And that’s not all the bad news. Research shows that around 33% of organisations are actually worse off after the change than they were at the start.  Change gone bad can really damage you.

What these figures indicate is sobering:

  • you have a one in three chance that you will be significantly better off after the change
  • you have a one in three chance that you will be significantly worse off after the change
  • you have a one in three chance that you will be disappointed with the outcome, and you will have paid heavily for it

STACK THE ODDS IN YOUR FAVOUR

What can you do to ensure you succeed at change and do so cost-effectively?  The critical factor lies in how and where you start the change journey. Many if not most managers start with deciding on goals and mapping out a strategy.  In doing so they overlook a key determinant of success or failure: the change readiness resources embedded in the organisation.  As a result, their strategies often do not reflect what people are actually ready and capable of doing, and failure becomes more likely.

The good news is that you can significantly stack the odds of success in your favour. There are some well established organisational development strategies to do this, but you can even go way beyond those standard practices.  By tapping into your organisation’s hidden change readiness resources you can give yourself a much greater chance of success.

Dr Steve Barlow