If your change project seems to be stagnating, you experience the knowing-doing gap and you cannot readily identify the main problem area/s then it is time for you to do a reality check and apply corrective measures.
This is a three stage process:
- Conduct a reality check
- Apply corrective measures
- Monitor the results
At the first stage you will need to review two key things:
- The need for change and its relevance to the present climate,
- If we had achieved the objectives of the change, how would the present be different?
Even if the change now isn’t relevant, there is value in undertaking a review to draw lessons for the future. Sweeping failure under the carpet is a way of encouraging a culture of blame not a culture of change.
Two supplementary questions are also important to help ensure that we don’t make the same mistakes again if we re-invigorate the process:
- Why didn’t we recognise the signs that the change effort was not on track?
- Why didn’t we do anything about it?
This analysis can be undertaken individually but is best done as part of an activity which involves the original change team and possibly representatives of the key stakeholders.
This analysis will provide the basis for creating the measures required to restart the process (if it is assessed as both still necessary and feasible).
Actions that can be taken include:
- Restructuring the team
- Higher profile involvement from senior management
- Response to staff concerns
- Greater investment (time, people, finance)
- Getting some well-known and respected staff involved
- Re-set SMART targets
- Staff development
Reviving a stalled effort will raise questions in people’s minds – ‘we’ve been there, we’ve done that’ an attitude can be hard to work with, and people will need to be reassured that the business case for change is sound, and that their involvement will bring both personal and professional reward, otherwise the effort will be doomed to work against the resistance and the bitter experience of non-achievement.
In this guide we offer a multitude of tools that can help at each stage of this change process. For example, if you found that the aims and objectives of the failed change were not clear to stakeholders, you could use clarimission to synthesise the aims of the change, and to achieve common understanding of the aims.
This is probably your last chance to effect the change – failure again will be almost certain death to the initiative so putting in place effective monitoring process is important to ensure that any early signs of faltering can be picked-up and responded to.
Top management was the face of the change, and it was their responsibility to find a way of going around the barriers of change, to ensure the change effort was resourced, to recognise the need to empower people at the shop floor level and to communicate clearly the vision for the change. Nothing more than to ‘walk the talk’.
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Resource allocation is absolutely crucial – if you really want to effect change you’ve got to be able to direct resources in the way of that change.
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