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Top 5 biggest change management mistakes

Posted by Jack Medland-Slater - 23 September, 2015

Change within an organisation, and its drivers and management, is a priority for many business leaders today. But the harsh reality is that failure is common in attempts at change.

Here are five of the most common change management mistakes to look out for: 


1. Being blind to the alternatives


With all of the pressures on management to perform and drive change within an organisation quickly, the risk is that important factors like culture get undermined. Often leaders evoke change drastically without enough time to investigate alternative methods.

What tends to happen then is that cynicism within the business grows and values of (positive) employee engagement dissipate. Ensure that you allocate enough time to develop your change initiative, identifying any roadblocks, barriers and potential for resistance.


Related content: 5 ways to motivate your employees



2.  No solid strategy


Even if you happen to have the most effective change programme that exists, it won’t be of any use if you don’t have a solid strategy for reaching your goal.

You need to have defined exactly where you want to go, what success looks like, how this will be measured, how resistance will be managed and what happens after the programme has finished. 


Related content: Why you need measurement for successful change management



3. Lots of talk - little action


A common (but dangerous) scenario is that businesses announce changes and initiatives with much pomp and ceremony, but then fail to follow through. The enthusiasm that was initially built up fades, with many changes never implemented.

This leads to employees feeling unengaged and in the worst case scenario, distrustful towards management. 


Related content: 3 steps to successful customer experience change management



4. Not making a compelling reason for the changes


What often seems like a clear case for change for management, might not seem as so crucial for employees further down the chain. If the reason to change is not communicated clearly, it will be harder for the business to buy into the initiative and realise the desired goals. 

Consider how meaningful the case is for change for the groups involved? Is there urgency? If not, could you create some?

Urgency is key to ensure that a change programme does not end up losing momentum before it has the opportunity to even start. However, business leaders must also be careful not to accidentally create an "emergency", rather than urgency.

Break the routine, but don't break the business along the way.


Related content: Going through business change? Don't overlook these 3 change management techniques



5. Failing to deal with resistance proactively


Resistance to change comes from a wide variety of sources, and not all of them can be anticipated. Despite this, it is still far more effective to spend some time proactively nipping problems in the bud before they grow into serious problems.

Relying on the rational brain is a mistake. Organisation change is a tough pill to swallow for many, and there must be a level of emotional buy-in as well. If people don't think there is a problem, or that the problem isn't a significant one that will affect them in some way, it will be difficult to avoid resistance to the changes.


Related content: Maximising employee engagement in the workplace



Check out our e-book on change management to learn effective strategies to implement change in your business. Get it for free here:


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Topics: Brand Health

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