The Top 6 Things That Cause Organizational Change to Fail

May 12, 2015

“70% of all corporate change initiatives fail.”
~Cracking the Code of Change, Harvard Business Review

Change is hard. It’s hard to deal with in our personal lives and our professional lives. New homes, new jobs, new family members all create stresses that program our brains to avoid these types of changes in the future.

And change is even harder when you’re talking about multi-hundred million dollar organizations filled with hundreds of thousands of employees, and employees with decades of experiences that has jaded their perspective and energy.

But why?

Here are the Top 6 Things That Cause Organizational Change to Fail:

1.  Managers:In many cases, managers tasked with leading change in organizations are not skilled at how to manage people through this process, leading to lack of confidence for employees, and failure for the organization. Making sure employees are empowered to lead others through the change, and trained in how to make sure the change happens as smoothly as possible will help you avoid organizational change failure.

2. Blindness to the Vision: The organization languishes due to lack of clear correct and compelling vision from leaders and managers. When managers to senior execs to c-suite executives are not on the same page as far as the vision for change, the rest of the employees won’t be either, slowing the process and creating a culture of avoidance.

3. Monologuing:Unclear one-way communication between leaders to employees, even if it is done frequently. Change requires a two-way conversion in order to gain full engagement across the organization. Empowering employees through knowledge and ownership of different aspects of the change will allow the change to be embraced instead of avoided.

4. Chaos:Too many changes at once create a sense of overloaded-ness or lack of focus, pitting people against each other when an important aspect of change is teamwork. Creating a strong and detailed plan for change will help eliminate chaotic disorder, and get employees aligned to the process for achieving the goals.

5. Silent Revolt: Organizational change often fails when leaders fail to capture people’s hearts and minds means that many will choose to work against the change. The most important thing when it comes to managing change is to make sure everyone feels like they are as knowledgeable about the change as the next.

6. “Not My Job!”:Make sure individual leaders, managers or employees feel empowered to help push through the change by giving them an objective measurement or tactic they are accountable for. They’ll be more apt to encourage and empower their teammates, and to feel responsible for making sure that which is being changed, is completed.

B2B eCommerce is one of those big organizational changes that is hard for many companies to swallow. By following some of these best practices, and avoiding mistakes of your peers, your employees will feel empowered and excited about the change in process, creating success across the organization.

After helping to create change within thousands of big organizations, we have experience managing the worries and stresses of your team. If this is something we can help you prepare for, please let us know.

[These learnings come after Sponsoring B2B Online 2015, a digital eCommerce event for Manufacturers and Distributors put on by Worldwide Business Research in Chicago, IL, and hearing about the issues and challenges companies have in implementing a B2B eCommerce platform.]