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Why only 30% of change initiatives succeed

Updated: Mar 8

February 24, 2023 | Change Management and Training | Organizational Effectiveness | By Kapil Nagpal and Priyanka Nagpal

Organizational change is an inevitable part of any business, as companies must constantly adapt to new technologies, market conditions, and customer demands. However, managing change is often easier said than done. In fact, studies show that only about

30% of change initiatives succeed, leaving 70% to either fail outright or fall short of their objectives (Harvard Business Review, 2019).

So, how can businesses increase their chances of successful change management?

The answer lies in understanding the change journey and taking a structured approach to change management. In a study conducted by the MIT Sloan School of Management, researchers identified three stages of the change journey: preparation, implementation, and sustainment (MIT Sloan Management Review, 2020). Let's take a closer look at each stage and what it entails.

1. Preparation

The preparation stage is all about laying the groundwork for change. This includes identifying the need for change, creating a vision for the future, and developing a plan to achieve that vision. It's important to engage stakeholders at this stage, including employees, customers, and suppliers, to ensure that everyone is on board with the proposed changes.

2. Implementation

Once the groundwork has been laid, it's time to put the plan into action. This involves communicating the change to employees, training them on new processes and technologies, and monitoring progress to ensure that the change is being implemented effectively. It's important to maintain open lines of communication and provide ongoing support to employees throughout this stage to help them navigate the transition.

3. Sustainment

Finally, the sustainment stage involves embedding the change into the organization's culture and processes. This means reinforcing the new behaviors and processes, celebrating successes, and addressing any remaining challenges or barriers to adoption. It's important to continually monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the change to ensure that it is delivering the desired outcomes.

So, how can businesses effectively manage the change journey?

One approach is to follow the Prosci ADKAR® model, which focuses on individual change management. This model identifies five stages of change: awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement (Prosci, 2021). By focusing on individual change, businesses can ensure that employees are engaged, informed, and equipped to handle the change.

Another key factor in successful change management is leadership.

According to a study by Harvard Business School, effective leadership is critical for managing change, particularly in times of crisis (Harvard Business Review, 2020). Leaders must be able to inspire and motivate employees, communicate effectively, and lead by example.

In conclusion, managing the change journey requires a structured, holistic approach that engages stakeholders, focuses on individual change, and emphasizes effective leadership. By understanding the stages of the change journey and following best practices for change management, businesses can increase their chances of success and achieve their desired outcomes.

References:

  • Harvard Business Review. (2019). Why Change Programs Don’t Produce Change. https://hbr.org/2019/05/why-change-programs-dont-produce-change

  • MIT Sloan Management Review. (2020). Mastering the Three Stages of Successful Change. https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/mastering-the-three-stages-of-successful-change/

  • Prosci (2021). ADKAR® Model. https://www.prosci.com/adkar/adkar-model

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Leading the Way: The Transformation Office and the Art of Change Management

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