10 Reasons Change Efforts Fail

Sep 07, 2010 2 Comments by

In contrast to my earlier article titled “10 Reasons Change Initiatives SUCCEED“… let’s approach the same challenge from the opposite side.

Craig Mainprize

This is Craig Mainprize. He’s a Senior Project Manager who’s currently leading an Organizational Change project for a group called NATS that provides air traffic control services to aircraft flying in UK airspace & the eastern part of the North Atlantic. Craig posed a great question on a LinkedIn forum which generated a ton of thoughtful responses:

What are the top contributing factors to the failure of a Change Management Project?

Here’s my contribution to the topic:

Ten Reasons Change Initiatives Fail:

Slow Down! Many Org Change initiaitves go into the ditch for completely preventable reasons!

  1. An utter lack of a PLAN to guide the change
  2. Failure to define a clear rationale for the change
  3. Ignoring culture
  4. Weak follow-through by sponsors
  5. Not investing resources in the change effort
  6. Gaps in change agent skills
  7. Haphazard communications
  8. Fear of feedback
  9. Declaring success too early
  10. Neglecting to reinforce the change

Details, Details…

Over the coming weeks, I will post tips and tools to address each one of these points of failure – starting with the basic need to PLAN for change.  Many companies start forcing changes while ignoring this planning need and this sets the stage for failure downstream.

I’d love to hear your comments re: the two questions below.  Click the “Leave a Comment” link to contribute your experiences.


Questions for Chatter:

  1. So what are the biggest causes of change failure in your experience?
  2. How have you seen change teams survive these challenges?

Here’s that link to Craig’s discussion on LinkedIn:

(Click the logo to see the discussion)

Incoming search terms:

  • causes of failure of organizational change

Change Agent Skills, Change Communication, Change Execution, Change Leadership, Stakeholder Readiness, Team Dynamics

About the author

I help people and teams succeed with big changes... never a dull moment!

2 Responses to “10 Reasons Change Efforts Fail”

  1. Steve says:

    Thanks for the note Eduardo. You are right on the mark with stakeholder readiness being a key problem. The difference in my approach is probably that I consider a lack of readiness to be more of a symptom than a cause. All ten of the items above can contribute to a lack of readiness – especially 5, 6, 7 and 8. In my companion post titled: “Ten Reasons Change Initiatives Succeed”, I list “Focus on Day-1 Stakeholder Readiness” among the positive things we can do to guide change.

    I will be writing up some ways to address each of these problems over the coming months and I will make it a point to mention your input. Thanks again! – Steve

  2. Eduardo says:

    What about Lack of Readiness??

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.