Mckinseys get a lot of stick for their claim that 70 percent of change programs fail to achieve their goals (Changing Change Management, 2015). This is partly because how they view change is wrong and this leads to conclusions that blame workers for resisting change, and then blame managers for providing a lack of support. In reality, the percentage of projects that fail in full, or in part can be as high as 80 percent, and much change often fails before it enters the starting gates.
Two core ways change fails: Understanding and Design
There are two core ways that change fails. The first is a lack of a thorough understanding of the situation that they want to change or improve, and the second is how they go about creating a new product or designing to do something to fix a problem. Improving the ‘how you go about it’ and ‘do something’ before understanding the problem just feeds more junk into the downstream change system. Change systems that are often fundamentally broken.
How do I know?
How do I know this? I know, because I have conducted autopsies of change portfolios in the private, public and third sectors and sometimes the findings are deeply troubling. This is happening even where ‘award winning’ project management accreditation and methodologies are in play. And more so with technology now in the mix (which can add a whole new level of crazy). And it is costing many millions of pounds and aggravating customers. These things would make executive leaders cry … if only they knew.
I am currently writing a series of posts on what I have seen and learned from change. And where the hopeful opportunities are for something better.