Change Management Part 1: Why Companies Fail to Change

Posted On July 17, 2019
By Lior Arussy

91% of companies have experienced a failure when trying to launch an organizational change initiative. Most often, there’s one key component that’s missing from change management—motivated and empowered people.

Organizational Change is Essential

Adapting to change is critical to survival in both business and in life, yet countless studies tell us how difficult it is for individuals and organizations to change.

Change creates an identity crisis. Most of us can’t help but feel that “the new way of doing things” we’re being sold is a response to some failure on our part. Otherwise, why change? So while a new approach or habit may make rational sense, it can simultaneously threaten our self-esteem, our sense of financial security, and our belief system.

All the data and so-called rational arguments won’t penetrate the emotional wall of rejection and fear of change that we all possess. Broad, sweeping statements are not going to cut it. Top-down directives will not drive the desired transformation. We must change the way we change—in support of the employee experience, the customer experience, and business profitability.

The Need for New Strategies

I recall one example from my past that illustrates this case for why change initiatives so often fail.

“The Chicago market in particular, and the Midwest in general, just doesn’t need these products.”

That was what the Midwest chief sales manager declared back in the days when I worked at Hewlett-Packard, when I asked him why our new security product had zero sales. As it turned out, he hadn’t even tried to sell it.

“Besides, we made our numbers without the new security solution,” he told me. “We don’t need it.”

“Well, it’s not exactly our decision,” I replied. “You are not in a position to determine the future of our division by avoiding selling our next-generation products and the key to our future market position.”

My old colleague’s unwillingness to adapt didn’t just affect his numbers; by sticking to his old, soon-to-be-obsolete products, he put our entire growth and marketing strategy at risk.

He’s hardly the only person I’ve encountered who’s so focused on the norm of his day-to-day that he stops himself from necessary change. He’s just one of the many people who show reluctance to change because no one’s properly explained why they need to change.

Driving Successful Organizational Change

Helping employees see the connection between change and their core cause is the antidote to this lack of engagement.

A core cause isn’t about you—it’s about the impact you’re making on another person.

Strativity is a strategy and activation firm that engages the hearts, heads, and hands of executives, employees, and customers to deliver rapid and lasting change. We love to make an impact on people’s lives through the change management and empowerment activation work that we do.

Change Management Part 2: The Secret Ingredient of Change Resilience