If I was going there I wouldn’t start from HERE

Much is written about business change and how to make it work. Almost all writings agree on the recipe:-

  • Clear Vision
  • Senior leadership
  • Effective communication
  • Measure progress
  • Quick wins

plus a few others

So why if the recipe is so well publicised are we still reporting such high failure rates in business change and improvement. A recent study by Towers Watson reports that overall:-

  • 56% of projects were delivered late.
  • 52% ran over budget.
  • Over 50% of change projects fail to deliver (according to IBM this can go as high as 90+% in some organisations, particularly if they have relatively little experience of executing change).

To enter the metaphor zone – Business Change & Improvement projects are like a journey – you have to know where you are going, tell the people who are helping you get there, have the means to get there, be able to measure your progress and know when you get there but surely there is something else.

consulting the map for directions

Have you ever sat staring at the satnavĀ in your car eager to start off with the “searching for satellite” on the screen – there you have it – to complete any journey you really need to know where you are starting from both from a business stand point and the environment in which the business exists. The same Towers & Watson study reports that over 60% of change executives admit they did not adequately understand where the project was starting from.

This chimes well with my own experience of change management projects where I find that as many as 70% of projects do not have a good enough understanding of their starting status and thus risk heading off in the wrong direction – trying to fix the wrong thing.

Many people naturally believe they understand their business really well and thus spend all their effort on mapping a desired future. In my experience businesses and their environments evolve and change continually, and especially when the business grows and more people are involved; thus it is well worth spending some time understanding the current situation of business both internally and externally before finalising a change or improvement programme.

If you would like to learn more go to www.bustrans.co.uk .

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