Why Companies Fail At Implementing Change

Posted by David Chism | Mon, Jan 23, 2012

 Why Companies Fail At Implementing Change
This week’s blog is a guest post from Bri­an Nolan, own­er of Sum­mit Ser­vices. Sum­mit is a pro­fes­sion­al busi­ness con­sult­ing firm work­ing with small and medi­um size busi­ness­es. This week­end I was read­ing a book called Lead­ing Change, by John P. Kot­ter. A cou­ple things jumped out at me as being very rel­e­vant for the Sum­mit group. There was a chap­ter ded­i­cat­ed to why com­pa­nies fail at imple­ment­ing change. Two of the main rea­sons were: 
  1. Under com­mu­ni­cat­ing the Vision by a fac­tor of 10 (or even 100.… or even 1000)
  2. Fail­ing to cre­ate short term wins
Kot­ter spends a great deal of tim­ing talk­ing about the impor­tance of con­tin­u­al­ly com­mu­ni­cat­ing the vision to employ­ees, both in words and deeds and in as many inter­ac­tions as pos­si­ble. Major change is usu­al­ly impos­si­ble unless most employ­ees are will­ing to help, often to the point of mak­ing short-term sac­ri­fices. With­out cred­i­ble com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and a lot of it, employ­ees’ hearts and minds are nev­er cap­tured. It’s not enough to read it once at a com­pa­ny meet­ing (although that’s the start!). The Vision must be kept ” top of mind” and be con­stant­ly incor­po­rat­ed in your com­mu­ni­ca­tions and deci­sions. I encour­age you all to keep your com­pa­ny visions close by and incor­po­rate pieces of it in your week­ly meet­ings. In Sum­mit, we’ll talk about get­ting some small vic­to­ries. This will cre­ate a feel­ing of accom­plish­ment in your com­pa­ny and show them that you are com­mit­ted to walk­ing the talk. Focus on one, or maybe only two projects. Com­mu­ni­cate the projects to the com­pa­ny. Explain how it ties into the Vision. Plan it, do it and cel­e­brate it. Kot­ter talks about short term wins as more than luck. I have always known luck as an oppor­tu­ni­ty com­ing togeth­er with prepa­ra­tion. Short term wins come about through plan­ning, orga­niz­ing and imple­ment­ing the plan to make things hap­pen. The point is to make sure that vis­i­ble results lend suf­fi­cient cred­i­bil­i­ty to the change effort, which includes cre­at­ing a focused orga­ni­za­tion. Have you picked your one or two projects that will give you the ear­ly vic­to­ries you need to sus­tain changed? Have you planned them before you start­ed doing them? Have you com­mu­ni­cat­ed these to the orga­ni­za­tion? Dis­ci­pline is remem­ber­ing what you want.” Our orga­ni­za­tions will thank us if we main­tain the dis­ci­pline to focus and accom­plish one or two things at a time. You will reach your sum­mit (your vision) in time, one base camp at a time. Have a great week! Bri­an Nolan 610 4492135 Vis­it Sum­mit Ser­vices Website

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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