Change management failure

Hollywood is doing it all wrong.

How many horror movies have they churned out, where on a dark and stormy night, the heroine runs right into danger (in sky-high heels, of course) and chaos ensues until the unlikely hero swoops in, saves her and defeats the villain? They both ride off into the sunset, looking picture-perfect, and live happily ever after.

Too many.

We think Hollywood is missing out on a surefire formula for a scary movie that would strike fear into our hearts and awaken our consciousness. Something that frightens most of us even more than a knife-wielding, masked stranger. What is that chilling thing, you ask?

Change, of course.

To many people, change is incredibly terrifying in both their professional and personal lives. The fear of the unknown can be overpowering, causing us to freeze and not take action to face down our nemesis and bounce forward through the many challenges brought about by change.

Change is inevitable, so in order to be successful through organizational change, your team needs you to be their hero. Guide your team through change management challenges by hiring a leadership keynote speaker and implementing the effective change management strategies I’ve shared below.

Why Do We Fail at Change?

Why is change the monster lurking in the shadows or under the bed keeping us awake at night?

Fear of failure is what cripples many people, and the sheer magnitude of work that needs to occur to successfully move through change can be overwhelming. Overcoming that fear and creating success is possible, but why do so many people fail at change?

They create resolutions, instead of rituals.

Resolutions are big dreams and grand ideas that are difficult to implement. Rituals are based on actionable and sustainable goals that allow you to create change one day at a time. 

There can be many reasons why we fail at change, but for each of the organizational challenges listed below, there is also a solution that you can implement as a leader.

Our Brains are Hardwired to Resist Change

Just like in Hollywood movies, where the screaming heroine runs up the stairs toward danger rather than out the door toward safety, our brains are hardwired to resist change, leaving us in the dark, feeling frightened and unsure of what to do next.

Change is essential for any organization to grow and thrive. Still, for employees, it is human nature to feel overwhelmed and stressed when faced with how to implement it. Our amygdala interprets change as a threat, causing it to release the hormones for fear and activate the fight-or-flight response. Your brain is attempting to protect your body from this perceived danger and it’s difficult to fight against that natural reaction. 

People crave normalcy and routine because it feels comfortable and safe. After all, it’s what you already know you can deal with, unlike change, where you don’t yet know how you will react.

When presented with a new initiative or idea, no matter how great or beneficial, many people let their fear take hold and become resistant to it. As a leader, once you understand what is behind this opposition, you can develop strategies to combat change management failure.

Fear and Uncertainty that Stops Us from Growth

One of the main reasons why change fails in organizations is the fear of uncertainty among employees. Especially in this day and age with immediate access to information at our fingertips, people find it easier to remain in their comfort zone where they know what to expect. In the old days, you had to figure things out on the fly, but today, even a meal out brings no surprises. You simply lock in the destination on a GPS, view the menu ahead of time and manage your expectations through Yelp reviews.

While the comfort zone is safe, it doesn’t facilitate growth and also isn’t very fun. Whether it’s in an organization or personally, change is the only constant, so whether you resist it or not, it’s going to happen.

The key to thriving in times of change is resiliency.

When you learn to embrace change and create strategies to bounce forward by building leadership and resiliency, you, your employees and your business will succeed.

Lack of Understanding and Communication

We know that no matter how impressive or well-planned an idea is, organizational change is difficult. One of the most common reasons why change fails in organizations is a lack of leadership communication, which leads to misunderstanding and makes executing the change incredibly challenging. 

If your team doesn’t understand the reasons behind your vision, they won’t feel bought in on the direction your organization is headed. Without a cohesive effort and steady progress, you will encounter change management failure.

But when you are clear and transparent in your communications, you will have taken the first and most important step toward bouncing forward through change management challenges.

Lack of Support From Management or the Work Environment

When employees don’t feel supported by management, leaders or within their work environment, they may not support your vision for organizational change. When employees don’t feel connected to the change, they won’t understand how it benefits your organization and ultimately, they will rebuff it.

Employees who don’t endorse new ideas or initiatives are one of the biggest reasons why change fails in organizations.

As a leader, it is vital that you cultivate a supportive and resilient environment in the workplace so that your employees will back your vision and advance your mission.

How to Change the Situation and Foster Successful Change Management?

There’s a simple and effective way to combat change management failure and be the hero that saves the day.

When your team is feeling scared and uncertain, it is up to you as their leader to guide them with effective communication, empathetic support and decisive action. 

You have the ability to create a culture of resilience and cultivate success. 

By implementing the organizational change management strategies listed below and the tips in my book, Change Proof, you can counter the challenges above and lead your team through organizational change management.

Be the hero your team needs.

The following organizational change management strategies will allow you, as the leader, to provide your team with the tools they need to bounce forward through change.

Overcome the Fear of Change with Positive Affirmation

Change is inevitable and the more it’s resisted, the more challenging it becomes. Rather than fight against it, embrace it. When you fear change, you fall down a rabbit hole of negativity, but when you welcome the unexplored opportunities, you begin an exciting journey.

Embracing change means being mindful and shifting your thinking toward optimism. By incorporating positive affirmations and resilient strategies into your daily routine, you will overcome the fear of change and bounce forward through it.

Create a Strategic Plan to Combat Change Management Challenges

As in life, change at work is inescapable. Whether it’s due to shifts in the target market, innovations in technology or changes in key positions, organizations need to stay ready to adapt and remain ahead of the curve in order to create successful change management.

If you have not actualized a targeted and detailed plan for implementing organizational change management, it is likely that you will not be able to keep up with, let alone beat, your competitors.

Change is challenging.

When you clearly define your organization’s goals and create a step-by-step plan on how to achieve them, including a timeline for implementation, you will have a roadmap for success. Fueled by a well-planned strategy, you will reach your intended destination — successful organizational change — and may even surprise your team with just how smooth the ride was.

Create Rituals, Not Resolutions

When you think of resolutions, do you envision making a toast at midnight on the eve of a brand new year filled with endless possibilities, surrounded by loved ones? But then what? Oftentimes those well-intended, but ill-conceived, resolutions are quickly left behind as the new year brings new challenges.

The reason many of us don’t follow through on our resolutions is that they are based solely on willpower. Like a firework that dazzles us for a moment but quickly fizzles out, our resolutions disappear as we remain in our comfort zone surrounded by the bad habits we know and love.

But what if we created rituals instead of resolutions?

The possibilities for effective change management would be infinite. Rituals are sustainable and over time will affect massive change. By breaking down our desired outcomes into daily behaviors that become part of our routine, we can achieve our goals. A great way to start is by creating a daily practice to build resilience. Resilience is the backbone that builds the strength needed to create good habits and bounce forward through change.

Stay Consistent and Organized

When it comes to change at work, consistency and organization are key. As a leader, if you are determined to make impactful changes in your organization and wish to empower your employees to carry out those changes, you need to be organized and stay consistent.

A big part of that is quickly recognizing what is working and what isn’t, providing clear communication about the reasons why the change is vital to your organization’s goals and remaining agile and flexible as the landscape shifts.

Ensuring that your team recognizes these goals as meaningful and understands your vision of how to achieve them reduces confusion and frustration. Communication is always essential, especially during times of transition. 

Create a Supportive Change-Proof Organizational Culture

When you cultivate a supportive, change-proof organizational culture, you ensure that your business remains relevant, grows and achieves success. A change-proof culture is one that is resilient in the face of uncertainty and can quickly adapt to consistently changing conditions. 

When employees feel supported, they are open to new ideas and initiatives and feel empowered to implement change. It is through your backing as a leader that your organization will develop the adaptability and flexibility needed to thrive in a world that will always include change.

Invite a Leadership Keynote Speaker to Transform Your Organization into One that is Change Proof

So now we know that rituals are more effective than resolutions, why change fails in organizations and how critical it is to lead your team into becoming resilient in order to adopt a change-proof culture. But do you feel ready to put on your superhero cape and run right into the danger zone?

Every superhero has a mentor.

If you want your organization’s happy ending to be brought about through successful change management, find yourself a professional leadership keynote speaker to act as your mentor. Through guidance from an expert, you will soon be ready to take up the torch and lead the way into the dark night to rescue your team and emerge together into a bright, new future.