Realize results: Busting three common myths of change management

Bain analyzed the barriers to successful change management at 184 global companies. The study enabled us to identify predictable patterns of risks in a broad cross-section of change efforts. We found, for example, that about 65 percent of initiatives required significant behavioral change on the part of employees-something that managers often fail to consider and plan for in advance. Nearly 60 percent of the companies we analyzed lacked the right capabilities to deliver on their change plans. The same percentage of companies didn’t have the appropriate individuals, structures and decision-making processes to drive the change initiatives. In addition, about 60 percent lacked the right metrics and incentives to make change efforts successful. And more than 63 percent of the companies faced high risks to their change efforts because of significant communications gaps between the leaders of the effort and the employees most affected by it.

These findings reinforce what decades of experience with clients have shown us: companies usually fall prey to three common change management myths, which lead to a superficial approach to change initiatives. Many companies assume they can get it done, for instance, with the right combination of strong incentives for their leaders and overlook the importance of building employee commitment during a change effort. The 30 percent of companies that succeed take a radically different course of action. They know that success requires leaders to learn and apply some counterintuitive strategies to change. Let’s take a look at each one in turn.

Editor’s Note: the best change management article I have read recently

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