Researchers find that change programs fail to achieve their goals anywhere from 67% of the time to as high as 80% of the time. These statistics make executives consider the risk of change as soon as they think of change. Yet, these statistics focused on failure leave out an important fact. Successful change programs frequently significantly exceed the expectations of those championing them. They can make laggard organizations into front runners.
Given the necessity of change and the rewards of a successful change management program, many prescriptions have emerged. Some practitioners believe in carving the change program into small pieces and then celebrating every small success. Others believe in constant communication of the benefits, frequently bringing in current executives, former leaders, respected line managers and workers, and so forth to preach the new gospel. Others focus on the rewards for meeting stretch goals and incentives more generally. Still others focus on cultivating opinion leaders and disabling change resistors. All of these tactics improve the odds, but none reverses them. They do not get to the core of change.
VISION focuses on the essence of change. All change in organizations – even IT change – means a change in the relationships among senior executives, managers, staff, vendors, users, and external customers. Unless a change program focuses on helping people change their relationships, managers and staff will unconsciously resist the change by maintaining their old useful relationships in the name of friendship, collegiality, decency, and just simply knowing how to get work done. “I call Bob when I really need X.” VISION’s approach to change management focuses on how these relationships must change with any new change in system, process, strategy, or operations. We work with the key components of productive relationships, develop a comprehensive understanding of the before and after situations, and work in six domains to achieve successful change. Finally, we make enthusiastic adoption of – not dogged implementation of – the change into the top commitment of the Change Program Leader. When VISION co-leads a change initiative with a client, initiatives succeed 80% of the time. When VISION plays purely a coaching role, initiatives succeed at least 60% of the time. We hold the key to the essence of change.