10 Reasons Change Initiatives SUCCEED! (Part-1)

Aug 28, 2010 2 Comments by

This is Diane McWade.  She’s the Owner of The Evolution Network in Edinburg, UK and she brought up a great point on a LinkedIn Organizational Change discussion forum the other day:

“It’s fascinating how people love to talk about why change initiatives fail.  Why do they succeed? Would seem to me to be a more positive and helpful debate. So what are the ingredients for success?”

<click on the LinkedIn logo to read Diane’s full discussion thread>

Below is the answer I posted :

Steve’s Top Ten Reasons Change Initiatives SUCCEED:

  1. Aligned Clarity of the Future State
  2. Definition of the OCM Work
  3. Committed Change Agent Resources
  4. Follow-Through on the OCM Work
  5. Involvement of Stakeholders
  6. Fact-Based Communication Dialogue
  7. Adjustment Based on Feedback
  8. Focus on Day-1 Stakeholder Readiness
  9. Transition to Support the Future State
  10. Sponsors Who Lead, Follow AND Get Out of the Way

Unlike many OCM practitioners, I put the Sponsor factor last… More on that later. First, let’s focus on the number 1 factor the leads to successful change: Alignment.

I snapped this wonderful musical group in downtown Munich one sunny afternoon... They were definitely all playing from the same sheet of music. I'll bet they wouldn't sound so good playing 2 or 3 different tunes at once!

Reason #1: Aligned Clarity of the Future State

It’s important to get everyone on the same page early in the process whether your change involves acquiring a rival or moving the employee insurance plan to a new provider.

In an earlier post I outlined 5 key questions that can help you drive for this clarity.  In addition, consider defining these elements before you start throwing resources and time at your change:

  • What’s changing? Is it a complete overhaul of something or an adjustment?
  • What’s not changing – or only slightly?
  • Why are we doing this?  What’s the rationale?
  • Why now? What’s the benefit we’ll gain or the risk we’ll mitigate?
  • Who’s impacted? Everyone or just some people? What individuals, locations, divisions or groups are most impacted?
  • Who’s immune to this?
  • When is it going to happen?  Is it one big event or a series of steps that result in some final condition?
  • What do people need to do to prepare?
  • What questions are still left to be worked out?
  • Where can we go for more information?

Follow Up on Alignment:

Your answers to these basic questions will provide the initial backdrop for the change and they can lead to more detailed stuff like a defined Mission & Vision or a set of clear Goals and measurable Objectives.

You might want to get your ducks in a row BEFORE you take the field…

I know some of this stuff sounds like common sense, but you would be SHOCKED at how many companies simply don’t take the time to do this simple exercise before plunging into major change initiatives. Later in the process, stakeholders will typically ask these questions anyway, so why not figure out the answers up front?

Next time I’ll get into the second factor that leads to successful change:Defining the Org Change work.  Pop a comment to me below and I will see you next time!


Questions for Chatter:

  1. What happens if a team forgets to answer these simple questions early in a change initiative?
  2. What other questions do you think should be added to this list?
  3. Do you agree with my list of 10 success factors? What if anything would you add or subtract?

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

2 Responses to “10 Reasons Change Initiatives SUCCEED! (Part-1)”

  1. 10 Reasons Change Efforts Fail | theBigRocks of Change says:

    […] contrast to my weekend post titled “10 Reasons Change Initiatives SUCCEED“… here’s a post that approaches the same challenge from the opposite […]

  2. Steve says:

    Thanks for the discussion Diane!

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