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The Success Factors of Change Management

The Success Factors of Change Management

What are The Success Factors of Change Management? Why are they  important?

Experience has probably taught you that around 85% of ALL change management programmes fail, and fail expensively.

Yet some leaders have a 100% success record. All of their change management programmes work, and work every time. How? Why?

How can they possibly achieve that level of success when most, the overwhelming majority of change management programmes not only fail, dismally, but actually harm the companies they were supposed to help?

What are the change success leaders doing right? What are they doing that is different? How can you do it, too? What are The Success Factors of Change Management that those leaders use?

Firstly, the really understand human nature.

They know why people resist change. They know how to get people who would normally resist change under other leadership, to embrace, and even champion change. They understand the levers of performance, and more specifically, of change management. Of course, some people are completely unwilling to change, and knowing how to determine who is not cost-effectively coachable is useful.

That knowledge is powerful, but on its own NOT powerful enough. So, what more is required?

Knowledge of the human condition is useless unless coupled with understanding of the circumstances in which those human characteristics work. That is, it is essential that knowledge of The Success Factors of Change Management is present, AND there is an understanding of how to apply them in any specific change management situation.

As is self-evident, given that 85% of all change management programmes fail, the leaders of those programmes started with the belief that they understood how to make change work. As is equally self-evident, by the 85% failure rate, their understanding of the success factors in change management was absent or incomplete, or they were faced with a basket case.

What is missing?

“Knowledge of what it takes to make any change work in any circumstances.”

What?!” I hear the skeptics shout, “You can’t possibly know what can make change work in any circumstances! It’s way too complex! Surely some situations are beyond change?”

Yes, “any circumstance” does seem unlikely, for good reasons: some organisations are basket cases. In most others the complexity is not a severe as it appears; all things seem complicated until we understand the simple principles behind the apparent complexity.

Change management is just the same: what was once complicated and beyond reach, becomes simple to understand and much easier to manage with full awareness of the underlying principles of The Success Factors of Change Management.

Many disciplines can be completely mastered by understanding, and applying, a tiny handful of principles. What are the key principles of change? How necessary is it to follow those principles? Are they guides or commandments? Stronger than commandments!

What are ‘The Commandments’, the principles that must be followed?

Encouragingly, there are only 10 Commandments of Change.

Understand and follow ‘The 10 Commandments of Change’ and your change management will be successful, every time it is possible.

(Only available to coaching clients.)

Breach any one of The 10 Commandments, even slightly, and you will fail, every time.

Why are they ‘all or nothing’ commandments?” Yes, good point. Why be so emphatic in saying that even a slight breach will lead to failure?

Audio version of The 10 Commandments of ChangeHeat, fuel and oxygen are required for the magic of fire. Take away any one ingredient, diminish any one ingredient, and the magic of fire will be extinguished. The same applies to successful change. And even if The Success Factors of Change Management are not as absolute as the conditions for fire, what could be the harm in striving to get it completely right?

Contrast that to the down side risk: are you prepared to take the risk that 98.5% (rather than 100%) on any one commandment is the success tipping point, below which failure is guaranteed?

It is the extra striving required to go from ‘nearly fit for purpose,’  to ‘better than fit for purpose’ that will take your change management efforts from witnessing yet another change failure to resounding success.

Change management planning

Every leader knows: for change management to work, the planning must be thorough.

Why then, if everyone knows that planning is essential, do nearly all change programmes fail? Is it because the planning wasn’t done?


It is because, in almost all cases, the wrong planning was conducted?

Yes, possibly.

Or, conducted in the wrong way?

Yes, often. Or, more usually, both!

What makes most change planning flawed?

Here is an illustration.

Most people (98%) believe that their driving standard is above average.

Most people have strong opinions on education, even though they have never
studied it.

Most managers have strong opinions on how change management should be conducted, even though they have never studied The Success Factors of Change Management in depth, (or at all), and believe that their change management skills are above average. Are they over-confident and (to create an apt word) “under-knowledged”?

Leaders whose change programmes fail are not stupid people: far from it! They are committed, determined, smart, and sincerely trying to add as much value as possible.

But, without knowledge of The Success Factors of Change Management, without knowing, and having an in-depth understanding of the 10 most important principles of change, the plans of even the best-intentioned leaders fail at the planning stage. Before they take their first change action they are destined to have a ‘not-to-plan’ experience.

“It will be all right on the night.”

Yes, it will, hopefully. Do you really want your change management programmes to depend on hope?

If you understand The Success Factors of Change Management well enough and use them to plan for success certainty, you won’t have to depend on hope. You will create a change plan which follows the most powerful, tried and tested principles we know of today. You can replace “hope-that” with know-how.

Effective change management alters plans on the hoof.

As you know from experience, few plans survive first contact with reality.

Those leaders who fully understand The Success Factors of Change Management are equipped to modify their plans quickly and appropriately in the face of reality, in real time.

That could be you.

Can you imagine watching the fiasco of a leader who doesn’t understand change management trying to generate a new plan as the commercial bombs are going off all around?

You’ve probably seen it, and the certain consequences that follow!

Make sure that’s not you.

Make sure you are the change leader who understands The Success Factors of Change Management so well, that whatever happens you can make the right, and most effective modifications to your change plan, in real time, and in a way that inspires confidence in your staff.

If you wish to master The Success Factors of Change Management contact Dr Nigel MacLennan to discuss how.