According to a study by Pat Zigarmi and Judd Hoekstra, 70% of all change processes fail and 29% of them start without a well thought-out plan and structure.

So the core question is: how can you do better?

If we put it briefly, there are two important focus areas:

  1. Make sure you have a systematic approach and a clear global plan.

  2. Take into account the emotional basis of change processes.

In this blog, we will cover both elements.

In his book (Stacking the Deck. How To Lead Breakthrough Change Against Any Odds. Jossey-Bass, 2014), David S. Pottruck provides a 9-step plan to address changes systematically and thoroughly.

  • Step 1: Establish the need to change and a sense of urgency.

  • Step 2: Assemble and unify your leadership team.

  • Step 3: Develop and communicate a clear and compelling vision of the future.

  • Step 4: Plan ahead for known and unknown barriers.

  • Step 5: Create a workable plan.

  • Step 6: Partition the project and build momentum with early wins.

  • Step 7: Define metrics, develop analytics and communicate results.

  • Step 8: Assemble, recruit and empower the broader team.

  • Step 9: Test with pilots to increase success.

Read more in the summary of this book.

Stacking the Deck

A systematic plan, as described in this book, is indispensable but does not guarantee success. Change only rarely goes according to plan. Employees are not spontaneously enthusiastic about the desired behavioural changes and they often react emotionally. We must have the courage to leave the beaten tracks and have an eye and ear for the hidden processes that may act as obstructions.

5 tips:

  1. Listen to what remains unsaid: what do the teams really think and feel?

  2. Organize throughout the organization an open dialogue per team about the resistance to the changes.

  3. Create a specific action plan to neutralize these resistances.

  4. Make a list of the obstructive beliefs. It is important to map out the invisible obstacles.

  5. Stay flexible and creative: a tight plan is fine, but there is more than one road to the same purpose.

We compiled the company mission and vision of our company, as well as the actions linked to them, with the assistance of the consultant. The consultant guided us in communicating with the specific target groups. We were able to forge our collection of wild ideas into a usable instrument.
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