How to Remove Unanticipated Change Obstacles

a cartoon businessman is trying to leap over a hurdle but trips

Change management consulting is fraught with risk. Don’t let any obstacle trip up your organizational change initiative…no matter how late in the game it arises.

Savvy executives have done their research and understand what it takes to accomplish real and lasting organizational change. They know it requires a meaningful business goal that is clearly expressed and understood and agreed-upon by employees at every level. And it takes perseverance. Even well designed and well communicated corporate change initiatives can fall short when unexpected obstacles emerge along the way.

This is the point at which unswerving and untiring commitment to the goal becomes critical to change success. Do not ignore late obstacles and hope they will go away. They won’t. They will undermine your change plans and, perhaps, lead to failure.

Here are three examples of unanticipated barriers to the success of your change initiative:

  1. Unaligned Compensation.
    Compensation plans must reflect the new direction. For example, if you are looking to create a more open and team-oriented culture, you cannot continue to incentivize purely on the basis of individual achievement. There needs to be a significant component of pay that motivates the desired change
  2. Unaligned Job descriptions.
    Employee’s hands cannot be tied by job descriptions that are too narrow or in conflict with the desired change. There needs to be enough flexibility and latitude given to employees so they can confidently stretch to the new vision. Productivity can suffer if job categories are too restrictive to get things done efficiently. For instance, if you are trying to improve your customer service delivery, you can’t keep the person who answers the phone from asking simple questions that would put the customer in touch with the perfect expert to address their problem.
  3. Unaligned Frontline Managers.
    For change to be successful, at least 50% of frontline managers must buy into and actively support the initiative. If you have even one team that is falling back on the behaviors required for change to occur, their example can be toxic. Organizational change is difficult. Most employees would rather do it “the old way” because it is familiar. If they observe that one team is ignoring the call to change, they may follow suit. Managers who do not hold their teams accountable for the desired changes need to be held accountable themselves.

Bottom Line
When it comes to change management consulting, effective change leaders stay the course. Follow through on your plan by eliminating each and every obstacle along the way.

Read About How to Successfully Recognize and Reward Organizational Change

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