How to Remove Unanticipated Obstacles to Organizational Change

How to Remove Unanticipated Obstacles to Organizational Change a cartoon businessman is trying to leap over a hurdle but trips

Do You Know How to Remove Unanticipated Obstacles to Organizational Change
Change is fraught with risk and unanticipated obstacles to organizational change. Don’t let any obstacle trip up your organizational change initiative…no matter how late in the game it arises.

What it Requires to Change
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 unanticipated obstacles to organizational change 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 unanticipated obstacles to organizational change and hope they will go away. They won’t. They will undermine your change plans and, perhaps, lead to failure.

3 Unanticipated Obstacles to Organizational Change
Here are three examples of unanticipated barriers to the success of your change initiative:

1.  Unaligned Rewards and Recognition
Compensation, rewards and recognition plans must reflect the new direction and desired behaviors. For organizational change to take hold there needs to be a significant component of rewards and recognition that motivates the desired change.  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.

2.  Unaligned Roles and Responsibilities
Employee’s hands cannot be tied by job responsibilities and priorities that are too narrow or in conflict with the desired organizational changes. 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.

3.  Unaligned Front-line Managers
For organizational change to be successful, at least 50% of front-line managers must buy into and actively support the desired changes. If you have even one team that is fighting the new behaviors, 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.

The Bottom Line
When it comes to change, effective change leaders stay the course, follow through on plans and eliminate each and every obstacle to organizational change along the way.

To learn more about how to overcome both anticipated and unanticipated obstacles to organizational change, download 5 Science-Backed Lenses of Change Leadership

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