4 Autopsies of Big Change Management Failures

outline of a dead man on the road with a sign that reads, "Resisted Change"

To perform and thrive, you have to be able to adapt to an ever changing environment. If you resist and defy change, your company is not long for this world. Here are a few examples from decades of change management consulting projects of now-defunct organizations that, in order to avoid disaster did not

  • foresee the necessity for change soon enough or
  • adapt in a way that made good business sense.

Autopsy #1 – Borders
Borders began as a standard bricks-and-mortar bookstore in Michigan in 1971 and grew to employ almost 20,000 workers before it ceased operations in 2011. The company failed on multiple fronts. Yes, the “old fashioned” bookstores all struggle to compete with online book sales but Borders had additional challenges they failed to meet. For one, instead of establishing their own online sales site, they partnered with Amazon, a formidable rival. And then, they continued to pour money into expanding their physical facilities. The third and final nail on the coffin was that they didn’t read their market right – a fatal change management mistake. Their customers would have used them for books from small publishers, not CD or DVDs and not books from large presses to the exclusion of small.

Autopsy #2 – Hummer
This outsized, rugged, status-symbol of a GM product failed to see the writing on the wall. They received early success because of the early American desire for big vehicles that could travel over any terrain in the world. But tastes change and, as they did, Hummer didn’t pay attention. Consumers no longer believed that big was good. They began to worry about the impact of gas guzzlers on the environment and the rising expense of fuel. Hummer lost its brand desirability because they did not change or adapt to the external environment.

Autopsy #3 – Blockbuster
This company was doing great as the leader in video rentals. Viacom purchased them for a whopping $8.4 billion in 1991. Then they seemed to lose their way. They began to charge stiff late fees and alienated their customers. And then Netflix began to erode Blockbuster clients with a “no late fee” policy.  Blockbuster wasn’t paying attention to what mattered to their customers…a devastating change management mistake to make with internal or external stakeholders.

Autopsy #4 – Kodak
A company that was founded in 1888, Kodak made multiple missteps over its century-long life. They were famously sued by Polaroid when Kodak’s version of an instant developing camera was deemed an illegal knock-off; they did not stay price competitive against low-cost mass distributors; they lost their film market in good part to Fuji; and they bought into the pharmaceutical industry with little idea of how the pharma business works. But many would say that Kodak failed because they didn’t foresee how quickly and completely digital cameras would take over the industry that depended on film sales. They were caught behind the times.

All different industries…all eventual failures. Do they have anything in common?

One could say that they were ineffective at managing change. They were caught unawares because they were overconfident or neglectful. They didn’t keep their eye on where their core business was heading. They didn’t pay attention to what consumers wanted. They were not agile enough.

Maybe not all of these disasters could have been averted. But had they been better at foreseeing and adapting to change, we might have enjoyed a Borders website for specialty books; or a smaller, more fuel-efficient version of the Hummer;  or a more user-friendly source for videos; or the kind of quality camera Kodak was famous for now in digital format.

What do you think?

Download Change Management Toolkit to Learn More About Managing Organizational Change

Share:
Facebook Twitter Google+ Email LinkedIn
Files under:  

Comments are closed.

LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.

Sandeep Kumar
Director, Software Engineering, EPG

Juniper-large-gray

Harmonic has worked with LSA for over 8 years. We have found their partnership extremely beneficial. We recently implemented a Management Development Program that was designed and customized to support our company’s strategic initiative of hiring, building, and retaining key intellectual property and human talent. We worked closely with LSA to target and implement the right solutions with the greatest impact. I would recommend LSA to any company that’s looking for a trusted training and development partner.

Janice Passarello
Director of Human Resources

harmonic-large

In my years working with LSA, it seems like I’ve had a personal consultant at my fingertips to help me identify just the right solution to satisfy our needs. The entire LSA team has become a trusted friend of Actel — assuring we provide state-of-the-art learning to meet our complex, high-tech business and people needs.

Linda Mitchell
Training Manager

actel-large

For our go to training outsourcing partner, LSA provides exactly what we want. As always, they deliver outstanding work!

Elizabeth Siebert
Director, Organizational Excellence & Development

Intuit

Avon’s success is dependent on strong relationships among our Customers, Representatives, Associates, and outside resources we hire to help us meet our business objectives. We were very pleased with the results from working with LSA Global to design and facilitate a custom program for our events management team. LSA demonstrated responsiveness, flexibility, and an innovative approach to working with us.

Deanna Rudnitsky
Senior Manager, HR Destiny Sales Region

avon-large

LSA provided top notch solutions right when and how we needed them. They exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and cost standpoint. I recommend them to anyone looking for a true business partner in the Learning and Development arena. The breadth and depth of their expertise has helped us hit tight deadlines across multiple projects.

Fortune 500 Financial Services Company
Director of Infrastructure & Technology

LSA custom designed a Management Development program that is absolutely “on target” for our technical managers. Their facilitator has done a superb job delivering the material in a way that is fast paced, highly interactive, and fun. She presents practical solutions to the people situations that our managers face every day. I regard LSA as an excellent partner that understands our business needs and a virtual member of our HR department.

Judith Onton
Vice President Human Resources

cortina-large

We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
Human Resources Manager

OMNI-large-gray

We recently partnered with LSA Global to offer our Supervisors and Managers a customized two-day management training program. Everyone who attended said it was by far the best management training program they had ever attended. The content was rich and highly interactive. The case studies were relevant. Each participant walked away from the training much better equipped to lead their teams.

Jeff Coon
Director of Human Resources

Cobham-large-gray

We partnered with LSA Global to help us invest in our people in the areas of performance coaching, diversity, and inclusion. They focused on helping us succeed and were very flexible in meeting our specific needs. LSA Global exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and value standpoint. I would recommend LSA Global to anyone looking for a true business partner.

Anita Luckinbill
Director, Human Resources

Skadden-large-gray

LSA helped change our entire culture around meetings, making them more effective and efficient, thus enabling us to concentrate on driving more business.

Terry Wassman
VP of Human Resources

cholestech-large

We have been able to utilize LSA’s extensive network of top-notch resources to leverage our investment in employee development. The result has been the cost effective and highly efficient delivery of quality educational and management training programs.

Steve Feller
Vice President, Human Resources

demandtec-large

We recently contacted LSA Global to assist us with a unique training request. We gave LSA a very short deadline and LSA custom designed a training program to meet our exact requirements within the limited time allotted to them. We found their facilitator to be well versed in the subject matter and very credible; the design provided practical and valuable information to our team of managers. I highly recommend LSA Global, particularly in the area of management training.

Julaine K. Souza
Senior Vice President

OldRepublic-large-gray

I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

Stephanie Webb
HR Program Manager

Rambus

“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”

Sally Buchannan
VP Human Resources

sonycomputer-large

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

icon_expert-blog

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More