And yet very few of these changes ever seem to ‘land’ successfully. In many cases not much actually does seem to change, for better or for worse. In other cases, there are the well documented change disasters; Sun Microsystems seeking to transition toward low cost / high volume production systems; General Motors re-structuring from stand-alone divisional groups to geographically centred functions.
The whole field of organisational change is littered with examples of failed or excruciatingly slow transition from current to desired competitive positions.
Why is this? Why do the majority of change initiatives fail to produce the desired results, often despite the enormous expenditure of resources; money, time, management focus, loss of customer focus? What’s missing?
In a nutshell, we think it’s the ‘I’ word. In our view most change efforts are over-focussed on the planning elements of change, and insufficient attention is given to the key issue of implementation.
Fig 1 below sets out what is supposed to happen and what a balanced change scorecard might look like…Fig 2 sets out what in our experience is the reality
Fig 1 Change: Balanced resourcing
Fig 2 Change: The Realities
The size of the bubble indicates the usual degree of resourcing and focus, as does the connection / disconnection between the bubbles.
We exaggerate to make a point of course, but many readers here will recognise the pattern. Organisations devote much focus to change planning, but give poor resourcing / attention to making something happen. Little attention is given to learning and avoiding previous mistakes and errors. Poor change realisation on the ground is the result.