Here we come to the last in the series of The Change Management discussion. It is important to realise that while leading organisational change, transformation efforts may also fail. Identifying and taking precaution is of prime significance for a leader while treading the path.
Businesses hoping to survive over the long term will have to remake or reinvent themselves into better competitors, once a while. These efforts may be either to do with total quality management, reengineering, rightsizing, restructuring, cultural change, or business turnarounds, et al.
In 1995, John P. Kotter, the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus at Harvard Business School completed a ten-year study of more than 100 companies that attempted organisational transformation. He shared the results of his observations outlining the eight largest errors that can doom these efforts and explained the general lessons that encourage success. He explained that the change process goes through a series of phases that in total usually require a considerable length of time. Skipping steps creates only the illusion of speed and never produces a satisfying result. Critical mistakes in any of the phases can have a devastating impact, slowing momentum and negating hard won gains. Perhaps because we have relatively little experience in renewing organisations, even very capable people often make at least one big error.I reiterate here the errors as Kotter ably crystallised. As ‘Change’ usually takes long time following his lessons may help improve chances of success:
ERROR #1: Not establishing a great enough sense of urgency: A close analytical watch is a must for all organisations most of the times. Most successful change efforts begin when some individuals or a group looks hard at company’s market position, competitive scenario, technological trends, market -competitive realities, potential crises or major opportunities and its financial performance. Timeliness and communication is very important aspect here. As a first step, it is essential as just getting a transformation program started requires aggressive cooperation and motivation of many individuals. ‘Change’ by definition, requires creating a new system. Phase one in a renewal process typically goes nowhere until enough real leaders are promoted or hired into senior-level jobs.
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