The 10 Most Common Mistakes in Change Management

  1. Starting too late

    This is a fundamental timing error, and basically it amounts to letting the world outrun you.  The result is an organization behind the eight ball, scrambling to catch up with the competition.  Or making a last ditch attempt to seize a fleeting opportunity.  Time ends up working against you, instead of being on your side.
  2. Moving too slowly

    We consider this the cardinal sin.  Change management isn’t a waltz, it’s rock ‘n roll.  The “slowness” problem starts with the misguided but popular notion of assessing the organization’s “readiness” for change before proceeding.  It’s a stalling tactic that consumes precious time.  And it just gives people an excuse for not proceeding with the much more difficult work of true change.  Let’s face facts – organizations are never “ready” to warmly embrace major change.  And “getting ready” is not the same as “getting going.”  People will also argue hard for the need to get “buy in” from everybody before you proceed very far.  But that’s just another impossible dream, and very dangerous to your change effort.  Make sure you know what “fast” actually looks like, because speed is crucial to your success.
  3. Lack of a coherent, well conceived change strategy

    It’s well established that far too many change efforts just don’t pan out.  A large percentage of the failures are doomed from the beginning because of bad design.  Major change calls for counter-intuitive moves, and many of the so-called “experts” don’t seem to understand this.
  4. Failure to apply project management techniques

    A beautifully designed strategy for change falls apart quickly unless you proceed with disciplined methodologies for tracking the process.  Ignore good project management, and your people will end up just muddling along.

  5. Using the wrong indicators to measure progress

    When a major change effort gets under way, executives often are scared off by the symptoms of their success.  Don’t panic if you see problems vis-à-vis morale, job stress, loyalty, the trust level or job satisfaction.  It could be proof that you’re doing precisely the right things.

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