70% of Change Management Fails - Operational Excellence is No Exception

By Check-6


Organizational change is hard.  Sustaining organizational change is even harder. Decades of research attests to this simple truth.   In fact, studies indicate that roughly 70% of change programs fail to meet intended objectives, or fall well short of attaining expected outcomes for host organizations.  This includes some disciplined and well-established “Operational Excellence” programs and processes like Lean, Six Sigma and Agile that, while initially successful, routinely find themselves unable to sustain hard earned performance gains or generate new gains through a culture of Continuous Improvement (CI).  In fact, the very concept of CI demands that organizations commit to a non-stop cycle of continuous change.

 Whether you subscribe to the insights of Kotter, McKinsey or the host of contemporary authors dissecting this critical challenge, you will find a recurring theme of basic pitfalls that stall organizational change and hamper the development of team behaviors that support continuous improvement.

The following is a nominal list of WHY CHANGE MANAGEMENT FAILS:

  • Lack of Leadership (Executive/Senior Management) sponsorship and support
  • Failure to develop buy-in at all levels: “Change by Decree”
  • Failure to involve front-line employees in the change process
  • Overly simplistic or ad hoc change plan
  • Poor communication of the plan or “Change story”
  • Lack of specific metrics, feedback loop or accountability
    • Absent or ineffective change agent(s)
  • Inadequate training / coaching / skill reinforcement
  • Failure to plan for and mitigate cultural change RESISTANCE

FREE Case Study Download Developing a Culture of Proceedural Discipline

Often, an organization’s change management initiative entails incorporation of a new Process or tools designed to reduce cost or improve productivity, compliance, quality or safety.  As such, a significant amount of corporate capital may be invested in a particular process / tool creating pressure within the organization to make the “widget” the sole focus of a change program.  Additionally, roll-out guidance / instructions frequently become an ineffective surrogate for the real hands-on leadership required to drive change.  Lacking a comprehensive change strategy, this frequently leaves gaps in other key areas critical to the successful, permanent integration of the very process into the organization’s culture.

A comprehensive organizational change blueprint not only includes process guidance, it must include specific Leadership actions and team alignment, buy-in and communication strategies, as well as subordinate leadership development opportunities designed to drive lasting organizational change.   Additionally, a well-designed change program addresses the training, coaching and mentoring required to instill high-performing Team Behaviors or habits required as part of a new operational process.  

Check-6 employs a proven methodology to mitigate the pitfalls of organizational change programs.  Our Coaches have decades of experience leading change and driving continuous improvement in the most demanding environments. Contact us today.