Nearly two-thirds of all major changes in organizations fail. That’s pretty sobering information. Did you know that:
only about 30 percent of re-engineering projects succeed 23 percent of mergers make back their costs 43 percent of quality improvement efforts are worth the effort 9 percent of major software applications are worth what you pay for them
(See my book, Beyond the Wall of Resistance for citations)
Fortune 500 executives said that resistance was the primary reason changes failed. And 80 percent of the chief information officers said that resistance – not a lack of technical skills or resources – was the main reason why technology projects failed. It’s that soft, touchy-feely, human reaction of resistance that matters.
But these statistics are only partly right. Resistance is not the primary reason why changes fail. The real problem is that leaders plan and roll out major changes in ways that create inertia, apathy, and opposition.
For example, an executive announces that the company will restructure starting next week. Employees and middle managers begin to resist. As the project unfolds, executives see resistance appear in many forms – malicious compliance, in-your-face arguments, even sabotage. The executives respond by pushing the change even harder. Then they make demands. Employees redouble their opposition and the change ends up either failing or going far over budget and way past deadlines.
Does this scenario sound at all familiar to you? If so, you’re not alone.