What To Do When Organizational Change Stalls

What To Do When Organizational Change Stalls
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Diagnosing the Cause of the Bumps in the Road When Organizational Change Stalls
Change management consulting experts know that very few change initiatives move forward without encountering bumps (e.g., change resistance) in the road. To keep change on track, organizations need to actively involve those most affected by change, transparently monitor progress, fairly hold people accountable, and thoughtfully make adjustments.

But first, organizational change leaders must determine the root cause that is causing the slowdown. In order to address the problem effectively, you need to conduct a current state analysis to understand what to do when organizational change stalls.

5 Common Issues for Why Organizational Change Stalls

  1. Lack of Clarity on the Purpose
    Change leaders need to ask themselves if they have been crystal clear on the vision of successful change. Do the rank and file really understand the business case for the planned change and what success would look like?

    We know that the lack of strategic clarity is a performance killer. In fact, our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, leadership effectiveness, and employee engagement. 

  2. Lack of Alignment
    Change consensus is a nice to have, but change alignment is a must have.  The commitment to pursue organizational change needs to be resolute.  There must be visible and consistent alignment from the C-Suite to the frontline.  All must believe that the change is achievable, necessary, implementable, and supported enough to get where you want to go in a way that makes sense. Otherwise, change is at risk.

  3. Lack of Required Skills and/or Resources
    Organizational change typically requires new ways of working.  New ways of working typically require new skills and knowledge.  Be sure everyone affected by change is fully prepared to take on the challenge of change with the needed knowledge, skills, and resources to succeed.

  4. Lack of Motivation
    Is the urgency for change high enough to motivate change?  Have you been clear about what’s in it for all your stakeholders to change?  Everyone affected by change must understand and appreciate the benefits to them personally and professionally. Clear and proportionate incentives should be put in place to help outweigh any natural resistance to a shift from the status quo.

  5. Lack of a Well-Conceived Plan
    Sure, your big picture strategy may be sound, but the devil is in the details when it comes to transformational change. Make sure there is a clear and multi-level plan of action that everyone believes in. Everyone affected by change should be clear on what they specifically need to do to succeed and how it impacts those around them.

The Bottom Line
Foolish is the leader who thinks a strategic plan is “one and done.” We know from our change management simulation data that successful organizational change requires steady monitoring and the flexibility to step back, assess what is and what is not working, and put a plan in place to smooth the path forward and get back on track.

To learn more about what to do when organizational change stalls, download 5 Science-Backed Lenses of Successful Change Leadership

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