The 6 Most Common Change Management Mistakes

The 6 Most Common Change Management Mistakes
Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

The Most Common Change Management Mistakes Can Be Avoided
Our organizational alignment research found that the highest performing businesses have leaders and employees who are highly responsive to making the changes required to stay competitive in their marketplace.  Yet, as McKinsey reports, nearly three-quarters of organizational change efforts fail due to a lack of management support and strong employee resistance.  The good news is that the most common change management mistakes can be avoided.

The 6 Most Common Change Management Mistakes
With over twenty-five years of organizational change management consulting under our belts, we have seen much go wrong and much go right.  As a result, we can tell you a lot about the wrong way to manage change.

And if you can avoid the most common change management mistakes and pitfalls, you will find your organization on the right path to change success.

  1. Pushing the Panic Button
    While urgency during change is an important ingredient, some leaders panic when times are tough and are willing to try almost anything to change the trajectory. But change itself is not necessarily a panacea. Leaders must perform a thorough current state analysis to uncover the root cause before they jump to potential solutions.

    To avoid this common change management mistake, analyze and then prioritize the most critical changes to be made and then be ready to spend more time preparing the foundation for change success.

  2. Ignoring the “People Side” of Change
    Organizational changes must go through your corporate culture and your people to be successful. A major cause of ineffective change is when leaders neglect the confusion and fear that can stymie employees’ acceptance and commitment to new ways of doing things.

    Leaders need to understand that it is only natural to resist change in the workplace.  Employees often worry about the effort it will take, their ability to learn a new way of doing things, and even whether they will be able to keep their jobs.

  3. Inadequate or Ineffective Communication
    The best leaders know how to communicate the necessity for change, both for the good of the company and for the good of the workforce overall. Clear, simple, and frequent communications are necessary so that employees get it.

    They may not like it yet, but leaders must be clear about why the change is in their best interests and in the best interests of the company over the long term.

  4. Not Actively Soliciting Employee Input
    One of the best ways to encourage employees to commit to change is to actively involve employees in designing how the change is to be implemented. The more employees feel that they have been part of the process and that their ideas have value in the eyes of their leaders, the more they will be committed to the change process.
  5. Lack of Executive Commitment and Resources
    With all of the research highlighting the importance of getting employees on board, some companies forget to make sure that their senior leaders are fully aligned and committed to the change. Without 100% executive alignment, commitment, and project sponsorship most changes are doomed to fail.

    One of the most devastating change management mistakes is not providing enough resources, time, reinforcement, or training to see that change goes as smoothly as possible.

  6. Inability to Course Correct
    Every experienced change leader knows that there will continue to be change all around you. Don’t be overly rigid with your once-upon-a-time program for change.  Be flexible enough to tweak the plan as you go to keep up with shifting demands and market realities.

    Change management simulations can be a great way for leaders to practice various scenarios and approaches to change in a safe, yet relevant, environment.

The Bottom Line
The most common change management mistakes can be avoided if you plan ahead and prepare your team accordingly.  The ability to change should be a vital part of keeping your business healthy and competitive.  Invest the time to get it right.

To learn more about how to avoid the most common change management mistakes by having a different perspective, download The 5 Ways Leaders Should Look at Organizational Change

Evaluate your Performance


Get key strategy, culture, and talent tools from industry experts that work


Health Checks

Assess how you stack up against leading organizations in areas matter most



Download published articles from experts to stay ahead of the competition



Review proven research-backed approaches to get aligned



Stay up to do date on the latest best practices that drive higher performance


Client Case Studies

Explore real world results for clients like you striving to create higher performance